One of the things visitors say they like most about watching the sugaring season at Bascom Maple Farms in Acworth, N.H., is when the evaporator runs in the basement of their sugarhouse and the powerful fans blast a column of steam 4 feet wide through the chimney stack and scent the air with maple. Though that hadn’t been happening much this year.
When I asked Bruce Bascom, who owns Bascom Maple Farms, to characterize the 2014 sugar season he said, “What season?” Meaning that the sap flow hadn’t gotten fully underway yet and judging by the forecast, might not get underway here until the end of March, or later. The long, cold winter oddly recalls the record warmth of 2012 as both may be caused by climate change, which threatens the region’s iconic sugaring industry. This year sugarmakers all over the region are frustrated, and so were the people who wanted to visit the sugarhouses and buy the new syrup.