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Warm winter leads to early maple syrup season

The unusually warm winter has led to an early maple syrup season. 

Theresa Baroun is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association.  She tells Brownfield it’s normal for producers to start tapping maple trees in southern Wisconsin in early March and see the central and northern producers start a week or two later.  Baroun says this year, even the northern producers have been gathering sap for more than a week. “Each year, it seems to be earlier and earlier but nothing like this year. I have to say from producing maple syrup since I was a little kid, and our operation being around for 60 years, we’ve never had it where it was as early as this year.”

Baroun says they can tap maple trees for sap once temperatures are above 20 degrees and collect sap up until the trees are about ready to bud. “And in that time of the budding-out, it will create, for the sap that may come out of it yet, a buddy-tasting syrup so at that time, the trees are saying it’s time to be done taking the sap and let the sap go into making the leaves on the trees.”

The Baroun family’s Maple Sweet Dairy near DePere started cooking sap to make syrup Wednesday. 

The top five states for maple syrup production in order are Vermont, New York, Maine, Wisconsin, and Michigan, with Vermont more than doubling the output of second-place New York.

Audio: Theresa Baroun discusses the earliest start to the maple syrup season she’s ever witnessed with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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