Maple syrup run suffers after harsh winter

Steve Sharratt
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Woodville Mills operator says usual temperature changes that keep things regular didn't happen this year

Shades of colourful maple syrup catches the eye of Katie Sinnott of Morell during an Easter visit to Woodlands maple syrup operation near Cardigan.

WOODVILLE MILLS — A tough winter and deep snow caused a little less sap drip in P.E.I.’s small-scale maple syrup industry this winter.

“We just didn’t get the usual temperature changes to keep things regular,’’ said Max Newby from his small-scale operation near Cardigan.

“I’d say this year actually tied for our latest start date ever to fire up the sugar shack.”

Newby runs the sugar shack with his business partner and apple grower, Richard MacPhee, and they sell directly from their shop that is open to the public for visits.

You can smell the syrup boiling as you walk up to the place and inside the fire is glowing and the evaporator is boiling away — turning sap to syrup.

“So that’s what is tastes like,’’ smiles Kay Sinnott after taking a sip of the fresh sap before it is turned into syrup.

The retired teacher from Morell was taking in an Easter Monday visit with family.

“The snow was pretty deep in the woods when things got going,’’ said MacPhee.

“But the weather was all over the place.”

The pair usually tap about 400 maple trees on their woodlot operation in eastern P.E.I. Perfect sap running weather is frosty nights and warm sunny days. But this year the temperatures were too erratic to maintain a consistent sap flow.

“All in all it sounds as if we fared better than some of the other provinces,” said Newby.

“Mother Nature can be a capricious mistress.”

Geographic location: Cardigan, Eastern P.E.I. Perfect

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