Sap flows in some regions of Quebec, stops in others due to warm spring weather

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While maple syrup producers in the Eastern Townships and Montérégie claim that the abnormally hot weather has been bad for business, producers in Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie are having a record year.

Justin Plourde, president of the Syndicat des acériculteurs du Bas-Saint-Laurent et de la Gaspésie, operates a sugar bush in Rivière-Bleue near the New Brunswick border.

He said that in this region, the sap was flowing in perfect conditions, with nighttime frosts followed by warmer temperatures during the day.

Plourde said he was able to harvest half a pound of sap per tap in two days.

In normal times, producers in Bas-Saint-Laurent usually harvest between three and three and a half pounds per tap for an entire season, which lasts between four and six weeks.

The only downside? Plourde said the abundance of liquid means lower sugar content in the sap.

The sap from the Rivière-Bleue region is free-flowing but with a lower than normal sugar content. (Radio Canada)

Unlike the normal sugar content of 3%, the product he picked up hovers around 2.5%.

This means producers will have to boil more sap to make maple syrup.

Short season in southern Quebec

After breaking production records over the past three years, the 2021 season for maple syrup producers in southern Ontario is falling flat.

Several owners say last month’s sudden spike in temperature means they could only reach half their normal production before the season is cut short.

“The heat last week at 18, 20 and 23 C that we had here in the maple grove is very, very negative for a season. It makes the buds develop, and it can change the taste of the syrup. declared Jean-François Laplante, owner of Erabilis in Sherbrooke.

The situation is particularly difficult for producers who normally operate restaurants from their sugar shacks.

Pandemic health restrictions prevented owners from opening their dining rooms, so they had to get creative, offering food baskets for delivery and pick-up.

France Demers, co-owner of Ferme Magolait in Magog, told Radio-Canada that the baskets saved the season.

“We made baskets with maple products for businesses. It went well. Gift baskets, stuff like that. And we made our popcorn that people like,” says Demers.

Despite the loss of visits to maple groves and restaurant income, Quebec producers continue to sell their product well at home and abroad.

According to the association of Quebec maple syrup producersvs, the province produced approximately 175 million pounds of syrup in 2020.

This represents 73% of the world’s maple syrup production.

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