New York State is celebrating Maple weekend where sugar shacks across the state open their doors for visitors and celebrate the sweet season. But as our Amanda Kelley tells us, Northern New York Maple producers are seeing their production cut short by mother nature.
CROGHAN, N.Y. -- It's usually a sweet business, but this year mother nature is cutting the maple syrup season extremely short.
Swiss'er Sweet Maple Owner Jason Zehr said, "This year right now, we're kind of gearing up for clean-up. I'm getting ready to get finished and move onto something else. I think the trees are going to start budding here soon and with these warm days the sap is real hard to keep fresh."
The sugar shack at Swiss'er Sweet is usually full of aromas and visitors mid March, but sits extremely quite this Maple Weekend. Owners say their production is down significantly.
Zehr said, "Last year was an exceptional year. We made about 700 gallons. This year we're about a third of that."
Many producers tapped trees earlier than usual this year, but even that can't make up for this unusual weather. There are some advantages to having quiet sugar shacks this time of year and producers are finding new ways to celebrate maple weekend."
Swiss'er Sweet Maple Owner Barbara Zehr said, "We still do walking tours through the shanty, sometimes it's easier to explain the whole process when the evaporator isn't always running."
And next weekend, tourists will get a glimpse of a rarely seen side of the Maple Syrup industry.
Jason Zehr said, "We're going to maybe have some kind of a bucket wash deal set up with our help coming in. Kind of show the people and get them involved on the cleanup end of it. How to wash the buckets and what we do to clean the equipment."
But Swiss'er Sweet owners say it's not exactly the way they planned on celebrating their 10th anniversary in the Maple Business.
Barbara Zehr said, "It is dishearting but I think sometimes it works out. It's a little bitter sweet actually."
Hoping for sweeter seasons in years to come.
Maple producers said the price of syrup may also increase due to the shortened season.