As temperatures in Norfolk County start to rise, the maple syrup season is drawing to a close.
The 2013 season was a successful year for Mark and Kris Murray, who operate Murray's Maple Products near Teeterville.
Mark, who has worked on the family farm for 35 years, says it has been a Murray tradition for as long as he can remember.
“Last year was the first year we put the lines in,” said Mark. Up until 2012 the family-operated business used the traditional bucket method.
Using buckets on hundreds of trees is tedious work.
“It is much more efficient. It's much easier and I would say faster too,” said Mark of the spider web of tubes that connect 1,100 trees together. Sap flows from the trees into a holding tank, which then is emptied and brought to the sugar hut where it is processed into syrup.
“I don't think a lot of people realize the work that goes into maple syrup,” said Kris.
The Murrays plan to add an additional 1,000 trees to the lines in the fall and say they will never go back to using buckets.
While this year’s maple syrup season is winding down, the Murrays are thankful they didn't face another season like that of 2012.
Last year's season started in February when much of the county saw unseasonably warm weather but the maple syrup season was cut short by a bitter cold snap, which also affected a lot of other crops in the area.
“The ideal weather for maple syrup is warm days and cold nights,” said Kris. “This year it warmed up then we got another cold spell, so the season has lasted a little longer.”
Mark noted the season is also lengthened by the use of the lines instead of buckets, as well as the sandy soil in Norfolk County.
“The clay ground stays frozen a lot longer than the sand does,” he explained.
The lines will stay live for a little bit longer if the evenings remain cold but the Murrays have already collected enough sap to ensure they will have a supply to sell for the rest of the year.
Murray's Maple Products are available at the Silver Lake Farmer's Market in Port Dover, the Apple Place in Simcoe and at the Murray's farm on Windham West Quarter Line Road near Teeterville.
519-426-3528 ext. 112