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A sapbucket at Newton's Sugarbush. Photo: Todd Moe
A sapbucket at Newton's Sugarbush. Photo: Todd Moe

Sugaring season is underway

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It may not feel like spring outside yet, but it's coming. The days are getting longer, the sun is higher in the sky, and the sap buckets are out.

Jeffrey Jenness of Orebad Sugar Shack in DeKalb Junction says February was a slow month for sugaring. When he spoke with Julie Grant earlier this week, Jenness had only collected a couple hundred gallons of sap. For an operation like his, that's not enough to get the equipment dirty and start making syrup. He's hoping for better days ahead.

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Julie Grant
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"It's just going to depend on temperature. You've got to have 40 degrees during the day and 20 at night, so the trees can fill back up with sap. Because the trees only have so much sap in them, and after two or three days, they're empty. And if you don't have that temperature change, they don't fill back up."

When he joined his wife's family business 20 or 30 years ago, Jenness says they wouldn't have starting tapping trees until March. But, as the winter has gotten warmer, sugaring season has started earlier.

Last winter, with its bizarrely high temperatures, got things off to a much earlier start than usual. And unfortunately, an early finish. Jenness only produced one third the syrup he would make in a normal year.

He'd like a more productive season this year. But, he says, it's all in the hands of Mother Nature.


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