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An early start to maple syrup season in Ontario


Ontario's maple syrup season typically runs between late February and April
Ontario's maple syrup season typically runs between late February and April

Cheryl Santa Maria, Staff writer

February 22, 2012 — Maple syrup season is off to an early start in Ontario, thanks to mild temperatures.

If the warm trend continues, the 2012 maple syrup season could be a short one
If the warm trend continues, the 2012 maple syrup season could be a short one

It's been an unusually mild winter in Ontario - and that's been having an impact on maple syrup production.

"I've heard that some of the farmers in southwestern Ontario started tapping [trees] around February 4th, which is generally unheard of," says Natalie Zalkind of the Kortright Centre for Conservation in Vaughan.  "You need the right temperature in order for the sap to run and it's been so warm that we've actually had some dripping."

Ontario's maple syrup season typically runs between late February and April, weather permitting.

"In order for sap to run you need two things: You need a night below freezing and you need a day of 4 or five degrees above zero - but once it starts staying consistently above zero, that will be it [for the season]," Zalkind explains.

Farmers are keeping their fingers crossed about the potential for snow later in the week. 

A low tracking in from the American plains is expected to reach southern Ontario this Thursday, bringing snow and rain to portions of the province. That should add extra moisture to the ground, which will help the trees produce more sap, but only time will tell.

"If the warm trend continues, it might be a ... shorter season this year," Zalkind says, "[but] it's all up to Mother Nature."

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