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Syrup-making season getting off to a late start

On March 12, Stanley Thompson still had a full supply of wood to toss into the evaporator used to turn sap into syrup. Thompson uses about 30 chord of wood each maple season.
On March 12, Stanley Thompson still had a full supply of wood to toss into the evaporator used to turn sap into syrup. Thompson uses about 30 chord of wood each maple season. - Dave Mathieson

FENWICK, N.S. – Because of the cold weather, by mid-March the run of maple-tree sap is still having a hard time getting off the start line.

“I’m ready to get going but the temperature’s got to go up a bit before the sap starts running,” said Stanley Thompson, who operates the Bouchard-Thompson sugar camps in Fenwick.

The 2018 season started in mid-February, and the 2016 and 2017 seasons started around Feb. 20.

“Some places do have it going already,” said the 78-year-old. “The next camp up the road, (Donkin’s Sugar Woods), he has a piece of land on the other side that faces south, and he’s been getting some sap out of there.”

Bouchard-Thompson has 3,500 taps in their sugar woods, producing about 350 gallons of syrup each season.

“Some years it takes 10 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup but last year the ratio was five to one,” said Thompson.

The Bouchard-Thompson sugar camp burns about 30 chord of wood each season to produce syrup and their many syrup products.

“This year we hope to put in a reverse osmosis system and cut the amount of wood we burn down to half that number.”

Hundreds of people visit the Bouchard-Thompson sugar camp each season, and Thompson says he’s looking forward to the season getting started.

“We had a long season last year, and hopefully we’ll have a long season again this year,” said Thompson.

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