RICHFIELD, Wisc. — It's sugarin' season also known as sap harvesting season to make maple syrup.
Wisconsin is actually one of the largest producers of maple syrup in the country, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association. However, for much of the season things weren't looking too good for syrup production.
“We had a very poor season worst in our 15 years," Dave Derrick, a volunteer with the Richfield Historical Society (RHS), said.
For the past 15 years, RHS has been harvesting sap to make maple syrup at the Richfield Historical Park. Normally, during the month long harvest, they would get about 1,000 gallons of sap. This year, they only got about 150 gallons. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.
The weather just wasn't cooperating. You need freezing nights and warm-ish days to help push the sap out of the trees. However, this past March was consistently cold. Without those temperature fluctuations, the sap couldn't flow.
That was the case until just a few days ago.
“Now we’ve collected 400 gallons in two days," Derrick said.
That’s 200 gallons a day compared to the 50 gallons a day that’s expected for an average year. The harvest is supposed to end in the early spring, but the sap is still flowing.
“The trees are not near budding yet, so we may have some more good days, we hope," Derrick said.
So the syrup season might just be saved. That's good news for RHS. They bottle and sell their sap to fund educational programs and renovations at the historical park.
MORE MAPLE SYRUP FACTS
Quebec, Canada produces the most maple syrup in the world, according to the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association.
Maple syrup changes in color as the season progresses. Derrick said that the first few batches are lighter than the last ones. A light flavor means that it will have a softer, less intense taste, whereas darker syrup means a more robust flavor.
Sap from maple trees generally produces darker and stronger tasting maple syrup as the season goes on.
Once the trees start to bud in April, the sap turns bitter, which is why it's important to harvest fast.
Maple syrup must have a sugar content of 66 percent to 67 percent, otherwise it cannot be entered into competitions.
Home-made maple syrup is seriously easy to make. Click on this link to learn how.