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Weather impacting maple sugar season

MALTA -- This late start to spring, and cold temperatures have been bad for one of New York State's largest industries. Maple Sugar season has had to be pushed back, something they say has been bad for business.

"Everybody is in the same boat. From Maine to Michigan everybody is cold," says Erich Ruger, owner of Sugar Oak Farms in Malta.

Ruger and his family own the farm, it's a small family business, and he's one of many at the mercy of the weather. He's also a member of the Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association, a group of maple sugarer's around the state. He knows all too well just how this season is effecting farms like his. He says it's the bigger businesses that are impacted the most. He also tells us once the tree's start budding, that is the end for his crop.

"The batch I've just made the other day was nice and light. It was a light amber. It was nice and it tasted good but there was just not much of it," he says.
Despite the spring chill, many came out to see the farm Saturday, as part of "Maple Weekend." It's to learn about one of New York's biggest exports. Some came from as far away as Germany.

"It's a great place, even though it's cold. But I think it's a great place for skiing, maple syrup, and it's just an experience," said one visitor.

Meanwhile, the Sugar Oak Farm is hoping to salvage what they can for the season, hoping the weather cooperates.

"A lot of it has been froze, the sap has been frozen we have to thaw it out," he says.

They say ideally going forward, the temperatures would have to be 40 degrees during the day, and sunny, and 20 degrees at night. If it's extreme on either end it could mean the end of this years maple sugar season.
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