An unusually mild winter followed by warm spring weather has meant a big disappointment for producers of one of Wisconsin’s signature specialty foods. Maple syrup production looks to be some of the worst ever recorded in the state. “We’re the third, fourth and fifth generation in our sugar bush, and it’s the first time that we’ve every heard of, that it started one day, and a couple of days later it was done,” said Gretchen Grape, executive director of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association. Typically, the season runs into April.
Grape said sugar bush owners need the right conditions, to produce the syrup. “You want freezing nights and warm days with sunshine. This year we only had a couple of those. And once the buds come out on the maple trees, you’re done with your maple syrup season, because the buds make a real bitter-tasting syrup.” Grape said she’s heard of similar conditions in other states in the U.S. (Vermont is the largest producer in this country, followed by New York, Maine and Wisconsin) so there may well be a shortage. Canada is the world’s largest source, producing some 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup, mostly in the province of Quebec. Grape said she hasn’t heard yet how the season is progressing there.
Mike Kemmeter, WHBY