Short but sweet: Weather limits Ohio’s maple syrup season

This March 9, 2015 photo shows a maple syrup sampler. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
This March 9, 2015 photo shows a maple syrup sampler. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio maple syrup producers say lingering winter weather limited their season, making for a sluggish year.

The maple sap run usually is spurred by temperatures climbing above freezing during the day and dropping at night, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Typically, trees can be tapped in February as days get warmer, but this year bitter cold stuck around. The sap’s flavor turns when trees start to bud, so the season was shortened.

Richard Jensen uses traditional methods to tap trees at his Licking County farm and said his production is down. He expects his output this year will be half of what it usually is.

“It’s a slow year,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll have anywhere near the production we’ve had in the past.”

In Knox County, Justin Butcher uses a more expensive vacuum method on his 5,800 trees, which has helped make up for the slow season. Even so, he said he’s behind last year’s pace.

Ohio produced 130,000 gallons of maple syrup last year, ranking sixth in the nation. National maple syrup production dropped 10 percent last year due to a short sap season caused by similar winter weather.

Despite the short season, Butcher expects he’ll still make about 1,400 gallons of maple syrup this year, what he calls “a decent amount.”

“We’ll still have plenty of syrup for a year’s supply,” he said.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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