From The Mass Maple coordinator, Winton Pitcoff
in an email to the membership
Thanks to everyone who responded to the request for a crop report. Of the 46 responses, about 1/4 said that their season seemed average or better thus far, and the rest said it was pretty poor (though many used much more colorful language than that). Those most satisfied with the season tended to be in the Hilltowns, where we still have a decent snowpack and are continuing to have colder nights than down in the Valley and the Eastern part of the state. A few people indicated they were getting good sugar content, but many reported low numbers. Similarly, a handful of you said you were getting very light syrup for your early boils, but many reported that their starting point was in the medium amber range.
Many of you are asking why the runs are so poor even thought the temps are getting below freezing at night. Tom and a few others put together a good article about this a few years back, and it's on our website here: http://www.massmaple.org/sap.php. Getting below the freezing mark for a couple of hours isn't enough to fully 'recharge' a tree for a good sap run -- a sustained period of deep freezing is what really does it. With only short periods of freezing temps, the pressure differential remains small which means a limited sap flow, particularly for those not using vacuum systems.
For those of you who sell your syrup in bulk, please check in with MMPA before selling your syrup this year. If the crop does indeed turn out to be small, we want to ensure that we have enough MA product for our booth at the Big E. The maple booths in at least one of the state buildings last year (not MA) had signs out indicating that the syrup they were selling may or may not have come from that state. We don't want to do that.
Please continue to keep me posted on your seasons. Thanks.