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HomeNewsMild winter making for uncertain maple syrup harvest 

Mild winter making for uncertain maple syrup harvest 

It’s a strange year for maple syrup. 

That from Tanya McCready with Winterdance Dogsled Tours, one of Haliburton County’s many syrup producers now starting for the season.  

“Everyone I’ve talked to that has done syrup for a long time is saying there’s just so many anomalies this year,” says McCready. “Nobody knows what to expect.” 

McCready says her family has been making syrup since the 1930s around Wolfe Island in Southern Ontario, with Winterdance starting its syrup production in Haliburton County about eight years ago. She says they typically start tapping and boiling with a full blanket of snow still on the ground, but not this year. 

“This is the first year we’ve ever tapped trees without needing snowshoes, so that made tapping a whole lot easier,” says McCready. “My grandfather always used to say that when you saw moths, it was near the end of syrup season, and we started seeing moths three nights before we even started. So it’s like ‘huh, not sure what that is going to mean’.” 

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She says one likely consequence of the milder winter is less sap coming from the trees. “I don’t think anyone is estimating a greater than normal run this year,” she says. 

Fortunately, she says one thing that won’t suffer is the consistency or quality of the product. 

“Once you boil it, it’s all the same one year to the next—the syrup doesn’t taste a whole lot different,” says McCready. “We get our lighter syrups early in the year, our darker syrups later in the year, but the taste doesn’t change a whole lot.” 

However, with an early spring pulling animals out of hibernation early, McCready says she expects some meddling from the local wildlife. 

“We already smelled bears around and they’re very good at destroying sap lines, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do this year,” she jokes. 

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