Got Maple Syrup?

This year, one of the Shared Harvest optional items (extras) will be maple syrup from the Warren Farm in North Brookfield. I’ll be sending shareholders an order form next week and finalizing our purchase by the end of September.

I spoke with Jan Wentworth, Warren Farm co-owner and farmer, last week about what kind of season they’ve had. Jan just shook her head and said “there’s not a lot of syrup out there. It was a terrible spring.”  I did a little research, and it turns out that 2010 was one of the worst years ever for Massachusetts maple syrup. Here’s a snippet from the county reports from the New England Ag Statistics, June 2010:

“MASSACHUSETTS – Berkshire: 2010 was one of the worst years ever. The season started well, and then just stopped. Franklin: 2010 was one of the poorest years on record. Daytime temperatures were average to above average and nighttime lows did not get down into the 20s. There was an abundance of rain in March which hindered sap flow and gathering. High vacuum system yielded decent production, however buckets and gravity would not run. Sap only ran well for about a week. The season was over by the end of March. Syrup has excellent flavor and was mostly light in grade. Hampden: This year was one of the worst years ever. Temperatures warmed up too quick and stayed warm. It never froze at night. There were only a few good runs. Hampshire: 2010 was one of the worst seasons in history. Temperatures were too warm at night and too hot during the day. There was never a good run, just a very slow drip. Sugar content was low. Vacuum helped to increase production, however if buckets or gravity were used, yields were very low. Middlesex: Temperatures were too warm for sap flow. The season ended a month early. Worcester: The 2010 season was one of the worst ever. Sap flow started early, but many taps weren’t out. Sap ran the first 2 weeks in March, then very little after March 10 as temperatures got too warm too soon. There were very few days of cold nights and warm days. It was a very short season.”

I’m grateful to the folks at the Warren Farm for partnering with Shared Harvest to make sure we can have a little bit of sweetness with our fall greens, roots and squash this year. I’m not so sure how I feel about being at the mercy of mother nature when she interferes with the maple syrup harvest.