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Late Start, Early Finish for Sugaring Season This Year?

      by Andrew Martin and Mickey Smith

      It doesn't take much more than a peek out the window to know Spring has been slow in coming this year.  While it has meant good news for skiers, sugarmakers are not looking at it with as much glee.
      Cambridge resident Kenneth Desroches expects a short season, especially for his own operation and those nearby. Desroches has a small operation and still uses buckets to collect his sap. He is also the local representative for the Lamoille County Maple Sugar Makers Association.
“The trees are already budding between Jericho and Underhill,” Desroches stated in a phone interview on Thursday, April 3, “Usually when the trees are budding in those towns Cambridge has a week, maybe a week and a half.”
      Desroches added that he boiled once on February 20, once on March 20, and then kicked off April by boiling on April 2. As of April 3 he had made 32 gallons thus far this year, a figure that is down substantially from the 160 gallons he produced last year. Desroches did explain that his production is down in part due to the fact that he lost 100 taps between last year and this year. Thus far he has been producing A Medium on the new grading scale for Vermont maple syrup.
      “It has good flavor and color when you can make it,” he commented.
He also explained that along with the trees budding in the nearby Chittenden County towns the long-term forecast does not give him high hopes for a good season. He expects to collect sap four or five more times before the season is finished.   
“It’s going to get too warm during the day and stay too warm at night,” he explained, adding that even the deep snow still present in the woods will not prevent the trees from budding eventually.
“The weather forecast for the Cambridge area does not sound good,” he concluded.
      The latest Desroches was willing to guess that the season could go in his area was April 17.
On the other side of the mountain, Selina Rooney does the boiling at the Rooney Family Farm in Mud City. They typically run about a week later than the lower elevation sugar bushes, but so far they have boiled everyday in April.  She said they have not made any fancy this year, and it would be the first year ever that they don’t if that trend continues. To date their syrup has been A-Medium (amber rich in the new terminology).  She joked they may have to go tap some more trees in search of some fancy.
      Gathering has been a bit of a challenge, said Rooney.  She said about half their collection is still done with buckets, and with three feet of snow in the woods it has been an aerobic workout even with snowshoes.
      Emma Marvin, of Butternut Mountain, said the season is off to a pretty unusual start, but she was “glad to see Mother Nature is finally starting to cooperate.” Though it's still early in the season, she said they have seen a lot of lighter syrup. 
      She was reticent, though, to predict how long it could last, noting it is entirely up to the weather.
     “We'll know what the season brings, once it's over,” she said.
     The long range forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s for much of the next week and only a few nights where the temperatures will dip below freezing.







Cover Photos
From This Week!!


Governor Peter Shumlin samples a doughnut at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, celebrating the official opening of maple season on Thursday, April 3.                                                           Smith photo





Thirty-eight year veteran of the Morrisville Fire Department Jeff Limoge was feted on Saturday, March 29, honoring his retirement from the department as First Assistant Chief.  Asst. Chief Limoge was presented with this plaque celebrating his many years of service to Morristown and the surrounding communities. 
                                                                           Laura Limoge photo





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