Experts speak about sap season

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (WABI) - Maine is one of the country's top maple syrup producing states.

We visited a sugar house in Skowhegan to get some insight into how this year's sap season is going.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Educator, Kathy Hopkins, said, “You can't hurry Mother Nature."

Ideal weather conditions lie between a maple producer and how much sap will be produced.

Hopkins added, "The sap doesn't really start to run until the temperatures during the day are 40 or 45. You need the temperature to go down below freezing at night. That's what stimulates the sap to flow in the trees."

Temperature is one reason why the season hasn't really started, according to University of Maine Cooperative Extension Educator, Kathy Hopkins.

Hopkins added, "A few producers have made a small amount of syrup. It's mostly down the southern parts of the state, but most people are still waiting."

There are about 450 licensed maple syrup producers in Maine.

Jeremy Steeves managers Strawberry Hill Farms in Skowhegan. He’s been running the operation for about 25 years. He said, "A day in the season is a pretty busy day, so typically, I'll get up in the morning, check tubing most of the day, and then collect. Then boil in the middle of the night, so I allow a few hours of sleep in there, but not too much."

Steeves said syrup is high demand.

He added, "Lot of foodies out there. It's hard to pick a cooking magazine that doesn't have a maple recipe in it."

Hopkins said, "I think that the sap season will be quite good, and I think that there will be a lot of syrup made, and I think it'll be a great year."

Maine Maple Sunday is coming up on March 24th. We're told nearly 90 sugar houses will be open to the public.