Unseasonably warm January temperatures kick-start maple syrup season

Town of Onondaga, NY (WSYR-TV) - That early taste of spring in mid-January is quickly becoming a distant memory, but the unseasonably warm temperatures were here just long enough to jumpstart maple syrup production.
Karl Wiles, owner of Cedarvale Maple Syrup Company, has been tapping trees for maple syrup for nearly forty years, but he seems to be returning to these trees earlier every year.
"At least in my opinion, it's absolutely global warming," said Karl Wiles
He says the gradual increase in temperatures has made the start of the syrup season a guessing game.
"One degree, two degrees makes a lot of difference in this business," said Wiles.
Combine that with the extreme highs and lows of the winter months.
"Really cold weather just means you get no sap and really warm weather can lead to contamination of the holes in the tubing and even premature budding of the trees," said Wiles.
When Karl first started a season would take about 6 weeks before bacteria would go back into a hole, contaminating the tree, now he says a season could take much longer. In part because of new technology that keeps sap from returning back to the hole, keeping it clean from bacteria.
"The check valve allows us to tap earlier and not worry about contamination later in the season," said Wiles.
Karl says now that temperatures are back to normal, it's a waiting game, but it's one that he's ready for. 
If you want a taste of some real New York maple syrup, you'll have your chance in March; more than 100 farms across the state, including Cedarvale, will take part in "maple weekend" -- inviting people into their "sugar houses" for tours, free samples and family-friendly activities.
If you would like more information, head over to the Maple Weekend website


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