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Sugaring season off to a good start thanks to winter storm

Published: Mar. 12, 2022 at 8:31 PM EST
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SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) - The snow is falling and the sap is flowing! Local sugar makers are celebrating the late winter storm.

It’s heavy and wet, the type of snow that sticks to your shoes and is tough to shovel. You might not love it, but for sugar makers -- “We need that moisture in the ground, so it’s great. It may not help us today, but it could help us three days from now,” said Steven Palmer of Shelburne Sugarworks.

Palmer says these storms are the best for driving sap out of maple trees as the barometric pressure comes down. Palmer and his team spent Saturday boiling sap because everything froze up in the morning. This, after watching the sap flow all night while the storm brewed.

“Last night I got about two hours of sleep. It’s okay, it’s what we do,” said Palmer.

“I suspect today, Saturday a lot of maple being made because of the sap collected yesterday,” said Vermont’s Sec. of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts.

Tebbetts says he’s heard that sugar makers are off to a good start after a challenging last season. Over at Shelburne Sugarworks, Palmer says they’re nearly breaking daily production records after a busy three days. Palmer says the season did kick off late this year, and like many industries, there are supply chain and stockpile hurdles for sugar makers. But, he’s feeling optimistic in light of this recent success.

“I’m hopeful we’re going to have a good production season to help offset other things going on,” said Palmer.

And while sugar makers navigate what Mother Nature has to offer, anyone can enjoy a traditional Vermont treat.

“This type of snow is perfect for sugar on snow, so if folks want the sugar and snow party, this stuff you can pack it down and put it in a bowl,” Tebbetts said.

You’ll get a chance to celebrate the good start to the season this weekend and the weekend after at the annual Maple Open House weekend at sugarhouses all throughout the state.

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