FREDERICKTOWN — What would a pancake be without maple syrup?
Unthinkable to most breakfast lovers. And for purists who insist on their pancakes steaming hot and their syrup natural, Ohio is a pretty good place to live. Unusually warm weather signaled an early start to the 2012 maple syrup season for some local producers, and their brief window of opportunity to collect and refine sap has just about closed. According to two Knox County syrup farmers, it has been a pretty good season.
“We started boiling on Feb. 6, which is the earliest I’ve ever seen,” said Bill Brown, a 60-year veteran of coaxing gooey goodness from hard maples. “We usually have four to six weeks of production, and today (last Thursday) is the end of it for this year.”
Fred Wade waited longer to tap the sugar maples on his Centerburg farm, beginning on Feb. 26 and finishing up over the weekend.
Last year was a banner year for Ohio syrup production, and Brown estimated he will finish with a similar yield this winter. Wade said his production will be off about 25 percent from a typical year and 50 percent compared to the 2011 bumper crop.