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2024 was an Unprecedented Syrup Season.


Micah Slattengren (11) and Annabelle Taylor (5) inspecting a sap bucket.

Every year in the spring, the annual maple syrup season begins.  This is a short window of time when there is a frost-thaw cycle that is required for maple trees to produce their signature sweet sap - or at least to get that sap to flow through the trees so that it can be collected and turned into maple syrup.  For this to happen, the sap needs to be boiled down to the right consistency (which is 66% sugar content), filtered of impurities, and then bottled. It is then worthy to be placed prominently at the center of the breakfast table.


While it can vary from year to year, the syrup season typically starts near the beginning or middle of March. Depending on weather conditions and the freeze-thaw cycle, the season can last a mere two weeks (or less) to over a month in duration.


The 2024 season started for many in the area at the beginning of February - which is about 5 weeks earlier compared to recent years.  So, what made 2024 such an anomaly?  The big trigger to the early syrup season was a stretch of abnormally high temperatures starting towards the end of January.  At a time when it is not uncommon to have lows of 20͒ F below zero, we instead saw temperatures in the 40s and higher.  The unusually warm weather didn’t just last a few days but stretched on for 3 weeks - making for ideal syruping conditions.


At the time of this writing, the season is definitely at its tail end. After a relatively good season, many syrup producers in the region have pulled the plug - er, the tap - on the season, perhaps feeling that the lower quality of sap that is typical of the end of a season was not worth harvesting.  Additionally, and unsurprisingly, the trees are budding earlier this year.  Once maple trees begin to bud, the compounds within the sap change and it is no longer suitable for making maple syrup.


Here at Slattengren Farms, we always enjoy giving visitors and guests a spoonful of our pure maple syrup - so stop on by for a taste!


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