NEW PARIS — The cold weather may have felt like it dragged on for many here, but there was a specific group of people who saw this winter as one of the best in recent years.
Maple Syrup producers in northern Indiana are finishing up what they have called one of their best seasons.
Richard Snider, local producer in New Paris, said the he started a week earlier than usual, and then extended production another week because of the temperature.
The temperatures in these first few months of the year are ideal for producers, with nights that are cold enough for the sap to freeze, and warm days that allow the sap to run again. The extended winter this year allowed for less contact between the sap and bacteria for a longer period, Snider said.
Snider has been producing syrup since 1990. But he has been in the business since 1985, supplying sap to producers.
Last year Snider produced 1,605 gallons of syrup with an average of 53.6 gallons of sap producing a gallon of syrup. This year he produced 1,694 gallons of syrup with an average of 41 gallons of sap producing a gallon of syrup, which means sap was sweeter this year than in 2012, he said.
“It was a good year all in all.”
Silas Beachler, of Beachler Sugar Bush in Sidney, Ind., said northern Indiana producers, as well as others in neighboring states had a good season, himself included.
“Our season has gone really well,” he said. “It’s one of the best seasons we’ve ever had, actually.”
In comparison to last year, Beachler doubled his production from 1,600 gallons of syrup in 2012 to about 3,500 this year. He also saw a sweeter sap this year, which helped him produce more syrup with less sap. Like Snider, Beachler attributed the successful season to the temperature.
“We had cold weather through the maple syrup season this year,” he said. “And the colder the winter the better, typically.”
But in talking with others, Beachler learned that producers in the northeast part of the country are not having the same luck.
Beachler has family members in Ohio and Maine who are also producers. The weather in northern Ohio was similar to that of northern Indiana, but Beachler’s father-in-law, a producer in northern Maine, has had a rough season.
“A lot of the people in New England aren’t making really a lot of syrup this year. They are getting started just now, because it’s been too cold.”
Beachler explained producers in the northeastern states wait until the middle of March to start production.
“And we don’t know for sure if they’ll have weather similar to ours that could make for a good season, but right now it’s not been real good yet.”
Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival:
What: Wakarusa is hosting its 44th annual Maple Syrup Festival. The event includes a parade, vendors and shows.
When: April 19 and 20.
Where: Downtown Wakarusa.
Who: The festival is open to the public and is a family-oriented event.