With the cool sunny days and clear cold nights we have had this late February and March has made for an idea for the sap run this year. This year should be a record year for Maple Syrup production here in Michigan.
Maple syrup season lasts only four to six weeks in the early spring when maple trees are dormant (i.e. before leaf buds swell and break open). When daily temperatures start to consistently rise above freezing maple sap begins to push up from the roots into the upper portions of the tree. Best sap flow takes place when temperatures drop below freezing at night, followed by above freezing temperatures during the day. The weather has been very good for this years run.
For most of Michigan March is the heart of maple syrup. Especially in northern lower Michigan. But Michigan is a big state geographically. Consequently, maple syrup producers in southern Michigan usually start tapping maple trees in late February. In contrast, many producers in the Upper Peninsula won’t start until weeks later. But by mid- to late-March nearly all syrup producers are busy.
Average maple syrup production in Michigan is about 90,000 gallons per year. And Michigan ranks 5th in maple syrup production in the United States There are an estimated 500 commercial maple syrup producers in Michigan with some 2,000-additional hobby or home use producers. Michigan law requires that processor of maple syrup must be licensed. Maple syrup is one of the few agricultural crops in which demand exceeds supply. . In an average year, each tap-hole will produce about 10 gallons of maple sap, enough for about a quart of pure Michigan maple syrup. A maple tree needs to be about 40 years old and have a diameter of 10 inches before tapping is recommended. . The maple season in Michigan starts in February in the southern counties and runs well into April in the Upper Peninsula. Maple sap becomes maple syrup when boiled to 219 degrees Fahrenheit, or 7 degrees above the boiling point of water.
There is a Maple Syrup festival in Shepherd ever year. The town is about 15 miles south of Mount Pleasant. The production of the syrup is a town wide event and if you drive thru this time of the year you will see trees tapped all over the city. The four-day festival is family oriented with many enjoyable activities for all ages. Pancake, maple syrup and sausage meals are served from Friday afternoon through Sunday. The festival features a 10K & 5K Walk/Run, arts & crafts, flea market, three museums, tractor pulls, demolition derby, two parades, quilt show, petting zoo, worship service, plus amusement and pony rides all add up to a most memorable weekend. You’re invited to witness hometown hospitality at its best and join the Shepherd community April 26-29 in the “Sweetest Little Town Anywhere Around”.
Fun facts with just 7 days to go in March the highest temperature here in Grand Rapids so far is just 56° and NO forecasted high of 60° or better. Well in the last 30 years the coldest high for any March in Grand Rapids is 56° and that has happened 3 times (in the last 30 years) in 2013, 2002 and 2001. In fact the only years that it has NOT reached the 60’s in March going back to 1938 that is 80 years (I am still looking) are 2013 56°. 2008 59°. 2008 59°. 2002 56°. 2001 56°. 1992 59°. 1984 54°. 1982°. 1975° 53. 1970 54°. 1965 43° (that was the snowiest March in Grand Rapids with 36”) 1958 56° 49° in 1956 (note it reached 78 on April 3rd that year with a massive tornado)58 in 1950 54 in 1947 57 in 1942 and 52 in 1941 that is it in that 80 year time. Of course we still have time yet this year but it is not in the forecast.
261 total views, 1 views today