Farmers have less syrup this season


MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) – Normally Northwoods Maple Farm gets about a half-gallon of syrup per tree tapped each year. This season has them stuck with a lot less.

“This year its been a little untypical, the weather has been cooler than normal,” said Anthony Renken, Northwoods Maple Farm co-founder.

Renken said on a typical year they’d have half their crop of syrup by the start of April, but they’re only at about 20%.

The trees leak most when temperatures are in the 20′s at night and high 30′s or low 40′s during the day. Renken said that’s why mid-March to mid-April is prime sap season usually.

“Right now we’re looking at the beginning of April and I’m sure there are other syrup producers out there starting to wonder, are we going to have a short season? The reality if of it is, that’s just farming. It is what it is, you take the good with the bad.”

Renken says he’s still hopeful April could bring optimal weather for tree tapping. In the meantime, he’s teaching students about the process of making maple syrup. On Thursday, he took students from the Rural Virtual Academy on a tour of the maple farm.

The charter school is mostly online. They teach kindergarten through high school. The activities director says even though they do most of their learning on the computer, they get lots of opportunities for field trips and mingling with their classmates. Thursday’s adventure took them outdoors.

“Getting them outside, moving around, also learning together in a collaborative experience, seeing where maple syrup comes from. It just creates lifelong memories,” said Josh Duwe, Director of Activities, Rural Virtual Academy.

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