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Cold weather delays maple syrup season

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Cold weather delays maple syrup season

By Jesse Ritka. CREATED Mar 18, 2014

NEWBURG - As the temperatures get warmer the sap is going to start flowing, and once it does, we could have a potentially shortened maple syrup season.  It’s a breakfast favorite, but as the 4th graders at Atwater Elementary School learn about the maple sugaring process, there is one major problem.  

“The sap didn't come out of the tree that much,” 10-year-old Max Currow tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka.

Spiles sit frozen, empty collection bags flap in the wind, Executive Director Jessica Jens says the River Edge Nature Center is playing the waiting game, “We have no idea when the sap will arrive.”  Because it’s been too cold for the sap to flow Sanctuary Manager Don Gilmore explains, “We've had a little bit and we're cooking that now here, but that's really it until we get another warm up... it's the freezing nights and warm days that set up the pumping action that makes the sap flow.”

There is still time Gilmore continues, “It’s all going to break lose, the weather will change, believe it or not.  Last year, it sort of started out like this cold and we had a record year.”  The River Edge Nature Center produced 140 gallons of syrup last year, which the 4th graders learned took more than 6,000 gallons of sap to make.  

Once the sap does start, River Edge is hoping for some help Jens adds, “We tap over 400 maple trees at River Edge and we do it the old fashioned way so we use buckets and bags on each of those individual trees and when the sap starts flowing, we need lots of volunteers to help us empty those.”

So they can continue to create the sugary sweet that Max and many other love so much, “Better than store syrup.”

The River Edge Nature Center is hosting an Open House on Saturday, March 22nd from 10am-2pm where participants will go on a tour, tap a maple tree and enjoy pancakes with real maple syrup made from the trees in the sugarbush.

Jesse Ritka

Jesse Ritka

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Jesse Ritka joined TODAY’S TMJ4 and Storm Team 4 in February 2011 as the “Live at Daybreak” weekend meteorologist. Growing up in Prior Lake, Minnesota, Jesse has always been fascinated by storms.