This time of year there are some Hoosier listeners who hang on every word of the weather report like some do the Dow Jones Averages or the latest sports scores.
It may be February, but spring is here and harvest time has begun for northeastern Indiana’s farmers and forest owners who make maple syrup.
“People usually think ‘Vermont’ when someone says ‘maple syrup’,” commented Garry Sink, president of the Indiana Maple Syrup Association, “but there is maple syrup as well as corn in Indiana!”
Like every other crop, maple syrup is weather dependent – only more so!
Sap flow is totally governed by the weather, and syrup makers must tap their trees when daytime temperatures accompanied by bright sunshine reach 40 F and drop well below freezing at night.
Tap too soon and the tap holes may dry out before the real flow begins. Wait too long, and one may miss the first big flows of the season.
That’s why a site-specific forecast from local weather experts is critical for the sugar maker.
“We stay tuned to local news broadcasts,” commented Larry Yoder, one of the family members who operate Yoder’s Sugar Bush in northern Allen County. “The moment a local weather forecast comes on, all conversation in the room ceases!”
Both immediate forecasts and longer range predictions help the sugar maker anticipate when a big run may occur.
Maple sap does not flow continuously. A series of daytime temperatures below freezing will stop the flow completely. Similarly, as spring progresses, the flow will cease once most nighttime temperatures remain above freezing.
IMost of the syrup produced in Indiana is sold at the farm or in local retail outlets. Interest in this locally produced, natural food is strong, and Hoosier producers find it a challenge to meet the current demand.
More information about Hoosier maple syrup is available on this web site.
or you may contact Louise Jewell, Public Relations Director for the Indiana Maple Syrup Association through the above web site.