Mild Weather Gives Early Start to Maple Season

The warmer-than-average temperatures this weekend sparked sap flows at maple sugaring operations

A mild stretch of temperatures has jumpstarted Vermont’s signature maple sugaring season.

“We’re all about the weather,” said Laura Sorkin of Runamok Maple in Cambridge, Vermont.

The warm weekend sparked big sap flows across Vermont, including from the 81,000 tree taps at Runamok Maple.

That producer has already started boiling the sap collected this weekend, reducing it down into sweet syrup.

While this stretch has made for an earlier-than-typical start to the season, wintertime sap runs are not unheard of, so Runamok has been on standby, ready to capitalize on conditions.

“You get ready as early as you can, and just see how it goes,” Sorkin said.

Maple is a valuable agricultural export for Vermont. The state’s producers generate roughly 40 percent of the nation’s syrup, making Vermont the top maple-producing state in the United States.

Runamok is looking to grow its twist on maple syrup, with barrel-aged and smoked varieties, as well as maple infusions of lime leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, or hibiscus.

The company said it is working to convince consumers maple syrup is not just for pancakes any more, and can be excellent in cocktails or cooking.

“With this weather, no one got a break this weekend, everyone's working through this week, and based on the weather forecast, they'll likely be working through next weekend as well,” said Eric Sorkin of Runamok Maple, praising his hard-working staff.

According to meteorologist Michael Page, maple producers ideally need days in the 40s and nights in the 20s to trigger the most productivity from the trees.

“Temperature really is key when it comes to sugaring,” Page said. “Conditions will continue to improve and be more steady going into March.”

Runamok said it plans to continue watching the weather, hoping after an early boost, temperatures will be right for a prolonged, strong season.

“We won't know what kind of season we've had until May,” Eric Sorkin noted.

For suggested recipes featuring Runamok Maple’s products, you can visit their website.

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