The mild weather is turning out to be a very good thing right now for maple syrup producers.
The only problem is some farmers believe this year’s season will be a short one.
Several trees at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort near Delaware Water Gap are sporting a bright blue bag. Those trees are maple trees and the bags are there to collect the sap, which is leaking out from a hole drilled into the trunk of the tree. This is the first step in making homemade maple syrup.
The weather right now has been prime for collecting gallons of sap.
“When spring rolls around, at the end of winter, when temperatures are below freezing at night and above freezing during the day, we tap the maple trees we have on the resort. This year we have 35 taps,” said Steven Taggart of Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort.
For the past few days the maple sap tapping crew, who are part of the resort’s grounds crew, have collected nearly 100 gallons of sap, but Taggart believes the season is near its end, which usually ends in mid-March.
“I think the tapping season will be short because the night time temperatures haven’t been cold enough. So I think it’s going to be a very short season for tapping,” said Taggart.
After the sap is collected, it’s brought into the resort’s kitchen and put into a huge pot. The sap, which is clear and tastes like sugar water, is then poured into the steam kettle where it is boiled down to make maple syrup.
“Once it starts boiling it’s going to be evaporating. All the water level will go down and the sugar is going to get concentrated and 35, 40 gallons of sap will give you one gallon of 100 percent Shawnee farm maple syrup,” said executive chef Gaurav Navin.