Maple syrup producers in New Brunswick are scrambling to get their trees tapped before milder temperatures move in later this week.
Producer Lea Briggs says the sap has already started to flow and he’s not even close to completely tapping his trees.
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“We are in a panic situation now because we lost one good run of sap on Sunday,” he said. “We are rushing because we are probably three weeks to a month earlier than [normal].”
Briggs has been harvesting sap on Collier Mountain in Albert County for nearly 60 years. He says sap normally doesn’t start to flow until at least mid-March, and he is not close to completely tapping more than 12,000 trees.
Those trees can only be tapped one hand-drill hole at a time, but he says this year the lines are easy to access
“Last year, we were shoveling two or three feet of snow to reach down to find a place to put the new taps in,” he said. “We were walking on top of the lines and we had to find some of them.”
Around 3,000 of Briggs’s trees were untapped last winter. Last weekend, he missed harvesting about 10 per cent of his crop.
He is determined not to miss out on another sap run. He expects the next one to begin later this week as temperatures are forecast to climb into the double digits by Thursday.
“I want to get as much as we can because we have a big store to supply,” he said.
Some suggest this season will be shorter than most, but Briggs isn’t convinced. He says there is no way to predict the length of a season that depends entirely on the temperatures.
“I’ve been at it almost 60 years so I don’t do predictions,” he said. “I don’t want to get caught in any lies.”