ALBANY, N.Y. -- The weather so far this month has certainly provided a stark contrast to last year's record warmth, and while you may have enjoyed those early 2012 temperatures, at least one industry certainly did not.
Maple syrup production was down 32 percent across the northeast as a whole. And New York State saw 200,000 less gallons of syrup produced than in 2011. So what conditions do maple producers look for?
John and Michelle Reid own Sugar Mill Farm in Washington County and have been producing maple syrup for 17 years. They know that from year to year, weather makes all the difference --not just with how much they produce, but how good it tastes.
They want the freezing nights and thawing days, the tree will build up pressure in the inside and then when it thaws during the day, those spouts act as reliefs and the sap will flow.
"24 degrees all night and 40 during the day with the sun out," said John.
The Reids explain the sap quality influences how the syrup tastes. Little warmer temperatures make bacteria grow. "I think this year we've made more light-grade syrup than we did last year," Michelle says. "Even the snow makes a difference; more of it usually makes for a better season."
With the cool temperatures we have been seeing, this year looks on track to be a pretty nice year.
So at what point does the season come to an end? The Reids say continuous two or three days of 50 degree weather will have the buds start to grow, ending the season.