We have heard the p-word (pandemic) incessantly over the past year; however, that word means nothing to Mother Nature. Our maple trees are still in the woods, the sap will still flow, and we will be making a new crop of maple syrup very soon.
Politics, viruses, and even snowstorms will not stop the sap from flowing from our maple trees in February, March, and April. The drought last summer may affect the amount of sap, but it will not stop the sap from flowing.
Mother Nature rules.
I am not taking the pandemic lightly. At the sugarhouse, we have taken additional precautions and sanitation measures as recommended by the CDC for the safety of our staff and customers. The number of people impacted by this virus through job loss, illness, hospitalization, and death is most distressing to me. In the 74 years that I have been around maple operations (including 46 seasons at Mapletree Farm), I have never experienced economic, weather, climate change, bugs and insects, or anything that has impacted the maple industry like COVID-19.
In March 2020, our annual Maple Open House had to be canceled, the number of visitors during our peak season dwindled to nearly none, and maple product sales slowed. Like other businesses, we made adjustments – we introduced our popular Bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, increased our shipping services, relied more on social media and extended our hours to compensate.
Now we are gearing up for Mother Nature to provide us with a bountiful few weeks of maple sap flows. Yes, we have already started to walk and clear our sap lines. Summer, fall, and winter storms have caused numerous trees to blow down across those lines. The rule for sap lines is: straight, tight, and downhill! Once the 30 plus miles of sap lines are cleared and tight, we will start tapping. Mother Nature does not wait, and we must be ready when prime weather conditions indicate good sap flows.
One thing is for sure – sap will flow soon, and we will be turning it into maple syrup and related products. We appreciate your support and look forward to your next visit.
(Dean Wilber is owner of Mapletree Farm in Concord.)