Cold Weather Slows Maple Syrup Production

By Mallory Lane

Published 03/23 2014 07:33PM

Updated 03/24 2014 12:46AM

PETERSBURG, HUNTINGDON COUNTY - It's something we wait all year for, that sweet stuff that tastes good on just about anything. But this year, maple syrup production has been difficult.

"I don't want to say a struggle, but it's been more of a challenge than usual," Shaver's Creek Environmental Engineer Intern, Jeremy Clothier, said.

Clothier said conditions for tapping have to be just right.

"You need nights that are below freezing and you want days above freezing," he said.

But thanks to an unusually cold winter, this sap needs a little encouraging.

"The trees are pretty frozen and sap isn't flowing," Clothier said. "We have boiled once and we've made about two quarts of syrup so far."

Usually by now, folks at Shaver's Creek make about two gallons of syrup. Laurie McLaughlin said that's not stopping anyone.

"We had a record number of people, about 1,200, come to the center," McLaughlin, Director of Programs, said.

The 31st annual Maple Harvest Festival at Shaver's Creek is a big festival for Central Pennsylvania and one that's educational.

"They learn to identify the tree, tap the tree, how to collect the sap and then how to boil it down in the evaporator pan," McLaughlin said.

From tapping, to collecting, to sugaring. It's a process that no matter how much syrup you get, it's pretty sweet to learn about. As for this year's supply, Clothier isn't worried.

"In stores, I wouldn't expect to see a shortage any time soon," he said.

Plans are already underway for next year's festival.

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