Maple syrup production in southeastern N.B. lagging after icy winter, spring
Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017 1:28PM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 18, 2017 1:29PM ADT
Some maple syrup producers in southeastern New Brunswick are calling it a lost year, saying production is lagging after an icy, cold winter and spring.
New Brunswick is the largest maple syrup-producing province in the Maritimes, with a seasonal value of roughly $25 million in 2015, according to Statistics Canada. But some maple camps have stopped production early, after seeing a loss of about 80 per cent this season.
Bonnie Trites, of Westmorland County’s Trites Family Sugar Bush, says they usually produce about 160 gallons of maple syrup, but this year they have produced only 20 gallons.
“This year is down about 80 per cent of what we had last year. Last year we had a really good year,” says Trites.
“It’s because of our temperatures. We were looking for the freeze at night and the thaw in the daytime. It just stayed cold, where now it’s getting warm and staying warm.”
In addition to the lost production is the cost of the cleanup following January’s devastating ice storm – a bill that is running into the thousands for Trites. She says the next few months will be spent cleaning up debris.
“We had snow right after, and while the snow was here, maple season happened, so everything stops during maple season and you look after the maple trees,” she says.
In Albert County, David Briggs of Briggs Maples says his business is seeing about half the amount of sap flowing through his lines this season.
“The warm weather has turned the syrup to a darker colour and that usually indicates the end of the season,” says Briggs, whose family has been in the maple syrup business for generations.
Briggs plans to keep his taps open for another week or so, hoping to catch the last drops of the season.
“We’re anticipating some cooler temperatures this week, we might get a few more days, squeeze a few more days out of it hopefully this week,” he says.
To make up for the dip in production, Briggs is importing more syrup from northern New Brunswick, and tapping into the surplus he stored from last year’s bumper crop. He says that should be enough to carry him through the year.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis