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Mild temperatures in the Maritimes slow down maple syrup production

Shelley Steeves, reporter
March 20, 2012 — A bout of warm weather in the Maritimes has significantly slowed the production of maple syrup.

Mother Nature has been turning up the thermostat in the Maritimes lately.

While some people are welcoming the warm temperatures, the timing couldn't be worse for others.

Maple syrup producers like David Briggs say the recent warm spell could be disastrous for their season.

"What happens is, if it warms up too much - to 10C or more - the sap stops flowing. It gets too warm and that will slow the flow down in the tree. Which means less yields of course," he says.

"We are bottling any product that we are getting right now. Bottling, or making other products with it, [like] maple cream, maple butter.

Right now, it's slow coming. There is not a lot of it flowing yet and its not real promising."

When it gets too warm outside, micro-organisms start to form inside the tree. This will eventually slow down the flow of the sap and heal the hole that has been drilled into the tree, or - even worse - dry it out completely.

Briggs says he hopes to salvage at least some of this year's season, but he will only know what the future holds after the mild spell ends later this week and temperatures drop to more seasonal levels.

After that, he'll know whether or not the valve has been shut off on maple syrup production.

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