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Harsh Winter Delaying The Start Of Maple Syrup Season

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(credit: CBS) Lauren Casey
Lauren Casey joined the WCCO-TV weather team in August 2011, a...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The official start to spring was last week. But the weather hasn’t felt at all spring-like. And those anticipating the sweet taste of spring will have to wait.

The unseasonable cold this month is delaying the start of maple syrup season.

“This is half a pint, a lot of work went into getting this, liquid gold, really,” said Brett Sieberer, of Three Rivers Park District.

This winter that just won’t end has maple syrup season off to a slow start.

And those anticipating that sugary, sweet taste of spring will have to wait until Mother Nature cooks up the perfect recipe.

“During the day, it’s gotta be above 32 degrees. Sap is mostly water, above 32. That starts thawing out and starts moving throughout the tree, at night below 32, that sap refreezes. When it refreezes, it expands, creates that pressure that following day, get back above 32 and help push that sap out the tree,” Sieberer said.

Temperatures that are too warm can also tap sap season out in a matter of days.

“Two years ago, three days, 72 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day, it was crazy,” he said.

And when it takes 35 to 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, a three-day season just won’t do.
But with a warm-up in the weather forecast, the forecast for the syrup season looks promising.

“I bet we’ll get two or three weeks of sap flow. I know once it starts getting in the 50s, that sap starts moving a little quicker,” he said.

Despite the length of an individual syrup season, the tradition of searching for that liquid gold will go on year after year — and for many, that’s the sweetest part.

“As far as traditions being passed down, this has to be one of the oldest ones. The Native American Indians figured this out, and told other people, who told other people … somewhere along the line, I got told, and I get to tell other people, which is super duper cool,” he said.

A Maple Syrup Time event is being held at The Lowry Nature Center in Victoria this Sunday.

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