Tim Scott of Swan's Maple Products in Central New Annan, runs off some partly finished syrup from the evaporator, to be transferred to another stove for finishing. HARRY SULLIVAN TRURO DAILY NEWS
CENTRAL NEW ANNAN - March traditionally heralds in the start of the maple syrup season in Nova Scotia but this year's "wonky" winter weather has quickened the process just a tad.
"I would say it's a normal early," said Scott Whitelaw of Sugar Moon Farm in Earltown.
"I know there was a lot of hype early on in February and people we're concerned and thinking it was going to be this crazy early start. I was tapped in about a week, week and a half earlier than normal because of the wonky weather. But, this is the beginning of March so this is an OK time to start."
Whitelaw, who taps about 2,500 trees and produces an average annual yield of approximately 1,200 litres of syrup, said on Thursday he was planning to start his evaporator boiling for the first time this year.
"And that is going to be the first syrup that I will make for this season. So, it's anybody's guess after that," he said of how the season may go.
"I've had seasons in the past where I've had these incredibly huge runs early on and I thought that I was going to have a bumper crop and it just ended up a normal crop. So, you really can't tell until the end of the season what kind of a season it is going to be."
Jim Bezanson, of Swan's Maple Proucts in Central New Annan, had already completed two boilings since Sunday and his evaporator was in operation again on Thursday afternoon.
And for him, that represented one of the earliest starts to his maple season in more than three decades.
"Yeah, it is early. We had two years over the last 35 where we boiled on the 28th of February," said Bezanson, who taps about 6,000 trees each year.
"There's other years it probably would have run that early but we didn't bother tapping up ...."
So far, Bezanson said, his trees have been running good. But as with Whitelaw, he said it is simply to early to predict how the overall yield will go.
"It's earlier than we've ever done it as an average, so I'd say it's promising right off the bat. But I don't like the thought of all this warm weather coming," he said.
"When you start getting warm days and warm nights it don't take long for the buds to come out. And I don't know where the buds are at right now because it's been a warm year already and a lot of plants were coming in bud as it was ...
"It's going to be an interesting season I think."