The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

March 2, 2014

Relentless winter delays maple syrup season

CLEVELAND — The unrelenting winter is turning out to be particularly bitter for Ohio’s maple syrup producers.

Syrup season in the state typically begins by mid-February, but many producers still haven’t tapped their trees.

The Plain Dealer reports that’s because of the unusually frigid February.

Ideal syrup conditions are warm days followed by below-freezing nights.

Of the 12 states in the country that produce syrup, Ohio typically ranks fourth or fifth. The state produced 155,000 gallons of the sweet stuff in 2013, beaten only by Vermont, New York, Maine and Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bill Belew, whose Auburn Township farm in northeastern Ohio typically produces 350 to 400 gallons of maple syrup a year, said this season is the latest he’s had to wait to tap his trees.

“Mother Nature dictates this whole thing,” he said. “Nobody knows how this year is going to turn out yet.”

Last year was a record year for many producers, with an early warm-up allowing the sap to start flowing as early as late January and lasting into April. Two years ago, however, the winter was too mild for a good season, with maple trees budding in mid-March, making sap turn sour early.

Despite this year’s uncertainty, the Ohio Maple Producers Association still plans on hosting its 14th annual Maple Madness Tour, a drive-it-yourself circuit showcasing the state’s sweetest agricultural product next weekend.

There are 50 stops along the tour, mostly in northeastern Ohio. Some include horse-drawn wagon rides to maple trees, while others offer historic demonstrations or additional farm activities.

One of the stops is Sugar Valley Maple, where three generations of Amish farmers have been making syrup on 65 acres in Middlefield Township.

Sugar Valley Maple farmer James Miller said he was able to tap his 2,400 sugar maples during a brief weather warm-up last week and made 131 gallons of syrup, but that the trees have since shut down production.

“I’m a little bit worried,” he said. “With this cold weather, it could be a short season.”

Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Study finds 35 percent in U.S. facing debt collectors

    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    July 30, 2014

  • U.S. blasts Israel for Kerry criticism

    The Obama administration pushed back strongly Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism over Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire with Hamas, accusing some in Israel of launching a “misinformation campaign” against the top American diplomat.

    July 29, 2014

  • Outlook on Medicare finances improves

    Medicare’s finances are looking brighter, the government said Monday. The program’s giant hospital trust fund won’t be exhausted until 2030 — four years later than last year’s estimate.

    July 29, 2014

  • Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may backfire

    If you have health insurance on your job, you probably don’t give much thought to each year’s renewal. But make the same assumption in one of the new health law plans, and it could lead to costly surprises.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hospital shooting suspect charged with murder

    A man accused of fatally shooting his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist at a suburban Philadelphia hospital complex before the doctor returned fire has been charged with murder.

    July 28, 2014

  • Man seeks video of Oklahoma City bombing

    One man’s quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death 19 years ago has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

    July 28, 2014

  • Bill in Congress to help veterans with PTSD

    A group of lawmakers have joined together to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Post Traumatic Brain Injury (PTBI) and other war injuries get speedy medical treatment — and avoid Veteran’s Administration bureaucracy and Department of Defense lack of accountability.

    July 28, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia has fired rockets into Ukraine

    Stepping up pressure on Moscow, the U.S. on Sunday released satellite images it says show that rockets have been fired from Russia into neighboring eastern Ukraine and that heavy artillery for separatists also has crossed the border.

    July 28, 2014

  • U.S. says Russia is firing across border into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.

    July 25, 2014

  • Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall

     Israel-Hamas fighting looked headed for escalation after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry failed Friday to broker a weeklong truce as a first step toward a broader deal and Israel’s defense minister warned Israel might soon expand its Gaza ground operation “significantly.”

    July 25, 2014

House Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video