1707991584 False Start in the Maple Groves of New Brunswick –

False Start in the Maple Groves of New Brunswick –

Last week's mild weather stimulated the first flows of maple sap in New Brunswick, but that water is unsuitable for cooking because it doesn't contain enough sugar.

It is only used to clean the pipes, says Patrick Thériault, owner of a sugar plantation with 32,000 taps in Saint-Quentin.

The cold of the last few days quickly brought the situation back to normal, he said.

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An increasingly common phenomenon

Maple trees sinking in February is becoming increasingly common, admits Frédérick Dion, president of the New Brunswick Maple Syrup Association. This organization has 120 members among the approximately 200 maple syrup producers in the province.

The sap from the maple reaches the maple bush in the hoses.

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The sap from the maple reaches the maple bush in the hoses.

Photo: Radio-Canada / François Gagnon

It was a false start, he agrees. It's not the start of the season. I've never heard of a producer having a nervous breakdown at the end of the week. You have to wait until the end of March to have enough water for cooking. However, there is something special about seeing water flowing in February, and it's a phenomenon we're seeing more and more often.

Maple producers in Gaspésie were caught by surprise last week, while those in the United States are already ready to start the sugar season, says the association's president.

I hope for a better year than 2023

In New Brunswick, maple producers are currently finishing their taps. They benefit from a mild winter with little snow, giving them better access to maple trees and thus being prepared for the next season, which will hopefully be better than 2023.


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According to New Brunswick Maple Syrup Association President Frédérick Dion, 2023 has been disastrous for maple syrup producers in the province.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Serge Bouchard

Last year, New Brunswick produced just over 500,000 gallons of syrup. This is well below the 800,000 gallons achieved in 2022.

So fans will have to be patient before they can pour the precious sweet liquid onto their pancakes.

The marmot announced spring early, argues Patrick Thériault with a pinch of humor. It's also a leap year, which is generally good for syrup.

Seriously, he's hoping for a good spring for watering to erase the bad year of 2023, just like that of 2018, when the thaw and ice damaged the bases of the trees.

It's been a long time since we last experienced such bad years. We usually have one every 10 years. But two in six years… You don't need a big, hot sun, that killed us last year, he agrees.

Frédérick Dion admits that it is still very difficult to predict how next season will develop.

So far we haven't had a harsh winter. We wonder what that means for this spring. An early season? A longer season? he asks himself.