Sap Flow Overview
The cold weather of this past week meant that some folks in the south had time to get organized, get cleaned up and get ready for the next round of sugaring weather. A few lucky producers in the south and in Quinte district experienced good sugaring weather and were able to make a significant portion of their crop. In most regions, sap flow has yet to start in earnest; many folks out in Ottawa Valley are still waiting to tap. There is general optimism that next week will bring at least a few days of sugaring weather, and the long-range forecast looks promising.
To see how fellow producers are faring south of the border, check out the Vermont Maple Bulletin and Ohio State Maple for their regular seasonal updates.
Thanks to all who contributed their observations this week. I will send out another reminder to fill in the survey next Monday.
For the maple syrup production report below, find your region here.
Producers have made 35% to well over 100% of an average year’s crop. One producer in the Niagara region experienced excellent sap flow over the last week, likely buffered by the lake effect that kept lines from freezing. Producers in other regions of SW experienced low sap flows due to the cold weather, which limited boiling. Sap Brix ranged from 1.8 to 2.5, and producers made amber to dark syrup with no filtration issues. There is no sign of bud swell and there is still snow to be found in the woods.
Producers here reported a wide range of sap flow the past week, from minimal to strong flows. One producer on vacuum lines reports 15 litres of sap/tap from Sunday to last Thursday. Brix ranged from 2 to 2.9, and mostly amber syrup was made, with some golden and dark. Flavour was very good, and some reported lots of sugar sand while others reported no filtration issues. One producer on vacuum just tapped this past weekend and has not made syrup yet, and another is up to 150% of an average year’s crop. Other reports range from 25-80% of an average year’s crop made.
Grey-Bruce & District
Sap flow in this region was low to moderate, with Brix ranging from 2 to 2.5. Amber syrup is being made and no filtration issues are reported. Folks have made between 0-70% of an average year’s crop.
Simcoe & District
Sap flow was intermittent and low this past week due to the cold weather. One producer on vacuum reported frozen pumplines and frozen sap in the lines, which is causing sap to back up in the droplines. Sap is needing to be dumped on the ground due to the frozen lines. Only folks with warmer bushes are collecting enough to boil. Sap Brix ranged from 2.1 to 2.4, and dark to very dark syrup is being made with good to excellent flavour. One producer reports no filtration issues while another has dark sugar sand. Producers have made 5-30% of an average year’s crop. There is optimism that next week will bring at least a few days of sugaring weather.
Some folks in this region finished tapping this week and some experienced fairly good sap flow. One producer reported a Brix of 2.9, and they made golden syrup with a mild flavour. One producer is reporting snowpack still on the ground, and no tree wells appearing yet. Folks have made 0-40% of an average year’s crop.
Quinte & District
This week’s sap flow ranged from intermittent to great. Sap Brix ranged from 2.5 to 2.75, with golden, amber, and dark syrup being made. Some are reporting significant levels of sugar sand but no filtration issues. Producers have made 10-50% of an average year’s crop, and folks are optimistic for next week’s weather.
Lanark & District
Sap flow was mostly slow with the cold weather in this district. One producer reported collecting only 3L of sap per tap over the total course of the week. However, another producer reported good to excellent runs. A number of producers under 1000 taps just finished tapping this week. Average sap Brix was 1.8-2.2, and amber and dark syrup are being made. No filtration issues are reported. Producers have made 0-25% of an average year’s crop.
Folks in this region experienced low to modest sap flows this past week. One producer is storing up enough sap to boil. Brix ranged from 2-3.2, and no reports of boiling have come in this week. Producers have made 0 to 3% of an average year’s yield.
Ottawa Valley District
Many producers have not yet tapped. Those who have report little to no sap flow due to cold nights and north winds. One producer reports that lines that were downed in the early January thaw are now embedded in ice, requiring ice chisels to free the mainlines.
Most folks in the region have either finished tapping or are finishing this week. Negligible sap flow was reported this past week due to cold temperatures. One producer on gravity lines reports 0.13L of sap per tap when the sap was running. Only a few reports of sap Brix came in, ranging from 2 to 2.75, and golden, amber ,and dark syrup were made. Flavour was very good and no filtration issues were reported. Producers have made 0-25% of an average year’s yield.
Producers in this region experienced a few small runs this past week, with everyone reporting 2 degrees sap Brix. One producer on vacuum observed sap flow despite below freezing temperatures, attributing it to calm winds and sunshine. Golden and dark syrup were made, with excellent flavour. No filtration issues were reported. Producers have made 0-20% of an average year’s yield.
See the news release from the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association about maple weekend coming up!
The sweetest time of the year is back! Maple Weekend takes place April 1-2 across Ontario
After an early and unexpected February run of maple sap, the maple syrup season is ready to hit its second wind in Ontario. Producers are getting ready to showcase a new crop of sweet liquid gold during the 7th annual Maple Weekend, April 1 and 2, 2023.
Hosted by the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (OMSPA), Maple Weekend is a fun, free, two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates a new season of maple production and Ontario’s maple heritage at participating sugarbushes across the province.
“Every year we look forward to welcoming visitors to our sugarbushes to see how syrup is produced from tree to table,” said Leann Thompson, Chair of the OMSPA Maple Weekend working group. “We had a bit of an early run of warm weather in February that was a wonderful surprise and now we’re looking forward to celebrating the maple season once again in Ontario.”
Each year during Maple Weekend, maple syrup producers across Ontario welcome visitors to their sugarbushes over this two day event to buy fresh maple syrup and celebrate Ontario’s maple heritage along with a new season of production.
Celebrating the 7th Maple Weekend event in 2023 (after a two-year hiatus in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19), OMSPA is looking forward to another successful year for this sweet event. Officially launched in 2015, Maple Weekend has been steadily growing each year. Maple Weekend is a past nominee for Destination Ontario’s Tourism Event of the Year, and in 2022 the event drew close to 20,000 visitors to rural sugar bushes across the province.
In 2023, there will be nearly 70 producers taking part in Maple Weekend, with participants from the following OMSPA districts: Algoma, Algonquin & District, Eastern, Grey-Bruce & District, Haliburton-Kawartha, Lanark & District, Ottawa Valley, Quinte & District, Simcoe & District, Southwestern, and Waterloo-Wellington.
“This year will be the perfect year to discover Maple Weekend at a local sugarbush and with so many regions participating you won’t need to drive far to find one,” Thompson said. “We invite visitors to visit one sugarbush or multiple locations to maximize the sweet fun.”
Maple Weekend is a celebration of the Canadian tradition of maple syrup production, and features two full days of activities and specials at participating sugarbushes across the province. Running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, visitors can expect to enjoy tasting a new crop of maple syrup and getting an inside peek at how this sweet liquid gold is produced.
Visitors can expect a traditional maple syrup experience that will vary by location but typically includes taffy on snow, sugarmaking demonstrations, outdoor activities, and sugarbush trail walks.
A list of participating Maple Weekend maple syrup producers is available on the Maple Weekend website, along with further details about specials and activities for visitors at the close to 70 locations across the province. Visitors are invited to visit the Maple Weekend website at www.mapleweekend.ca for more details.
As the official voice of sugar makers in the province, OMSPA represents approximately 600 maple syrup producers from across the province, who are committed to producing a high-quality product for consumers to enjoy. Members are involved with a wide range of activities organized at the provincial level or through one of the 11 local chapters located across the maple producing areas of Ontario.
For more information, contact:
Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association
2193 Wood Rd, Wyebridge, ON, L0K 2E0
Join Future Generations University Appalachian Program as two of their maple experts team up to discuss ‘The End of Year Clean, Sanitation 101’. Dr. Mike Rechlin and Kate Fotos team up to talk end of season sanitation practices and what you should be doing to keep your sugar bush and shack spic and span!
Date: March 16, 2023 at 7pm EST
The webinar will also be recorded and available on their Youtube channel at a later date. Click here to register for all their webinars.
I have a question and wanted opinions about ice. What do you guys do with ice in pails. I have tasted ice and feel that there is no sugar in it. I throw it away instead of boiling it.
What do you think?
Hi Rick, thanks for your question! Depending on how cold it is, different quantities of sap will freeze. There is still sugar content in that sap ice, though it will likely be lower than what’s in the unfrozen sap. If you really want to make sure, I would encourage you to collect some of that sap ice, thaw it out and use either a sap hydrometer or a sap refractometer to check the sugar content. You can also boil it down in a pan if you collect enough of it. I wouldn’t worry too much about what you’ve thrown away at this point, it likely was a negligible amount. Hope that’s helpful.