Mendon Farmers Say Warm Weather Ended Sugaring Season Early This Year

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MENDON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — It's a bittersweet end to this year's maple sugaring season, as the warmer temperatures of spring keep farmers from harvesting any longer.

John Gomersall of Quissett Hill Farm in Mendon said that he started harvesting maple sugar in early February and that he was hoping to go until early April. But the warmer weather put a hamper to that timeline as Gomersall said that the heat messed with the sugar content in the sap coming from the trees.

"Normally in the middle of the season there's about two percent sugar in the sap coming out of the water, which equates to 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. But last week, at least for me, the warm weather dropped it all the way down to one percent. That meant it would take me 80 to 90 gallons just to make a gallon of syrup- it's not worth it," Gomersall said.

Despite the abbreviated harvest, Gomersall said that he managed to collect just as much sap from the trees as he did during the last full season.

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The cold temperatures may not be missed by many, but for sap farmers it's crucial for it to be brisk at least during the nighttime, Gomersall said.

"It needs to go below freezing at night for the trees to recharge, and then above freezing in order for the sap to build up the pressure and the tree to start flowing again. Once that doesn't happen for three to four days, the sap slowly stops running," Gomersall said.

In addition to maple syrup, Quisset Hill Farm sells pancake mix, local honey, and apparel like scarves, shawls, and mittens made from the fiber of the farm's alpacas.

WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.

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