Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

I love maple syrup. We’ll start with the fact that I am either a purist or a syrup snob. Real maple syrup just can’t be beat.

I cook with it and pour it on oatmeal and pancakes. Minnesota even has a non-profit Maple Syrup Producers Association. It is a cottage industry and family business for over a 100 businesses.

The Minnesota Depart of Natural Resources sponsors events where families can come and see the sap running and get an idea of what it takes to make the syrup that one buys at the coop or grocery store. This was a favorite spring time event when my kids were little. The MN DNR site has a list of places to visit and videos.

Maple sap runs best when daytime temperatures are in the high 30s to mid-40s and overnight temperatures are below freezing. This cycle of above-freezing days and below-freezing nights needs to continue for several days, although nature occasionally has been known to provide a good run under less perfect conditions.
Sometimes sap flows as early as January or as late as May, but in Minnesota, sap usually runs from about March 15 to April 20.

That late winter, early spring weather that is so ideal and necessary for collecting the sap is a part of the seasonal cycle that we just skipped this year. We went from snow to 60 and 70 degree weather overnight.

Warm Weather Gums up Minnesota Maple Syrup Season is not a happy headline for the producers or the people like me who think that maple syrup should be a food group.

Some maple syrup facts from The Maple Syrup Producers Association:

It takes about 40 gallons of sap (what comes from the tree) to make one gallon of maple syrup.
Pure Maple syrup is only made in certain parts of North America – nowhere else in the world!
Nothing is added to the sap-only water is evaporated away – to make maple syrup.
A gallon of maple syrup weighs 11 pounds.
Once a tree is large enough to tap, it can be used year after year.
Each tap can yield 10-12 gallons of sap during a season (about one quart of finished syrup).

In a burst of selfishness and hoarding, I am going out to buy enough to tide me over until next spring. Could it be that climate change has hit the breakfast table? I hope this is just one weird year.

Reader Comments Welcome.