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Maple syrup season thriving during 'weird' weather

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The sap is flowing quickly at sugar bushes across Ontario.

At Robinson’s Maple Products near Lucknow, they just started tapping a week ago and already have 25 per cent of their syrup ready to bottle.

“The first day we boiled, we made 26.5 barrels, which is a record for us. Previous record was 24 barrels. We made 1,700 gallons in two days last week. I was not expecting that. It was a huge number,” said Kevin Snieder, who is slowly taking over Robinson’s Maple Products business from his father-in-law, Bill Robinson.

Some maple syrup producers started boiling in late January due to an early burst of warm weather.

Robinson’s decided to wait and are happy they did. They hope it means they’ve got many more weeks of production to go.

Robinson’s Maple Products camp near Lucknow, as seen on Feb. 27, 2024. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“Last year we finished on March 29. That’s the goal, to go short and hard. Make as much syrup as you can in a short amount of time,” he said.

Usually there would be ankle deep snow in Robinson’s sugar bush near Lucknow, but this year there’s none. It feels like spring, which Snieder isn’t sure is a good thing or bad thing for syrup production, since it’s never really happened before.

“The problem we’re going to run into is moisture. There’s not much moisture out in the bush, so anytime we can get some rain or snow, it will be good for us. There’s not a lot of frost in the forecast, so we’re going to need some frost too. But, we’re off to a good start and that’s all you ask for, really,” he said.

Maple syrup flows into a holding tank at Robinson’s Maple Products camp near Lucknow on Feb. 27, 2024. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

Robinson’s already has 2,000 of their usual 8,000 gallon syrup haul out of the bush and into barrels in the first week of production.

They’re not alone. Most maple syrup producers are ahead of schedule and are bracing for a record-setting spring of sweet syrup production.

Sap flowing through some of the 450,000 feet of tubes connecting maple trees at Robinson’s Maple Products camp near Lucknow on Feb. 27, 2024. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

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