MONTPELIER, Vt. - A local sugar farmer says this winter has already packed a one two punch with damage to lines and trees. And Wednesday’s storm is pushing his harvest way behind schedule.
Tom Morse is an eighth generation sugar farmer. He says normally by they begin sugaring at the end of February.
“I don’t recall a season where we hadn’t boiled; we hadn’t collected any sap by the middle of March which is what it’s going to be this year,” said Morse.
All thanks to Mother Nature. And Morse says this winter has been pretty tough.
“It was a bad year for damage, windy, rainy, stormy weather brought down trees and tree tops and a lot of damage to lines in the woods,” said Morse.
And making your way out to the maple trees is tough.
“The snow has been light and fluffy you just sink right down to the ground with snow shoes anyway. So you just end of having to kind of wallow through and it takes you a lot longer to walk in the woods,” said Morse.
Trudging through snow that’s already knee deep is tough. Add another possible 20 inches to that and it’s even tougher. But Morse says snow that deep presents a whole other problem.
“A lot of the lines are low to the ground and they’ll get buried and we’ll have to dig main lines out,” said Morse.
If lines are buried sap can’t flow through. Morse says sometimes buried lines freeze and break so he’ll have to assess the damage after the storm passes.
“So it’s just going to prolong the start of the season,” said Morse.
Overall it’s been a rough winter for some sugar farmers.
Morse says if this weather is followed by a quick warm up in the next few days – that combination could damage his crop.