Now it's time for the maple season.
Like many producers in Cumberland County, Matthew Harrison, President of the Maple Producers Association of Nova Scotia [MPANS], has been making his way to his maple operation on Lynn Mountain just about every day in anticipation of the season.
Where everyone else sees hectic weather –blowing winds, snow, then rain, rising and lowering temperatures – Harrison sees a waiting game.
Even with forecasts for dirty weather this week, Harrison tapped trees on Saturday (Feb. 16) and added lines over the weekend in plus-one degree weather. And he was not alone.
“Many owners started today (Feb. 20). More will start on Monday (Feb. 25),” Harrison said. “The valley started the middle of last week.”
It takes consistent warm days and cold nights for the sap to run from the maple trees but even when things look promising one day, they can turn the next. One thing maple producers have been noticing, Harrison said, however, is changes when the season seems to be starting.
“It’s getting earlier every year, it seems,” he said. “We could be boiling by the weekend if the weather co-operates, and it looks like it could.”
How the recent ice and then rain we experienced this week could impact those plans, only Mother Nature knows. But when the season does open, and Harrison feels it will be soon, local sugar camps in Cumberland County will become popular destinations. Many sell their fare on sight and it’s a family tradition for many to get active and make the trek into the surrounding woods for the sweet product while others take part in maple festivals at community halls and churches.
And if everything goes according to plan – weather included – that could come as early as the first week of March, he predicts.
For a listing of some of the province’s maple producers, visit http://www.novascotiamaplesyrup.com.