Officials kicked off maple sugar season with a ceremony Friday, although the sap may not flow for a few more days until temperatures warm up.
Maple tapping season usually begins at the end of February, but unseasonable cold has delayed it this year, said Mary Jordan, director of the division of agricultural markets at the Department of Agricultural Resources.
“With all the snow and really cold days — that has prohibited the season from starting,” Jordan said. “Maple producers are very hopeful the weather warms up sooner rather than later,” she added.
The sap flows well when temperatures are above freezing during the day and below freezing at night, the Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs said in a statement.
“You really need warm, sunny days with highs in the 30s or 40s,” Jordan said. “That’s when the trees wake up and know Mother Nature is ready for maple syrup.”
Despite the weather-related setbacks, the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association’s kickoff event was held as usual on the first Friday in March.
Governor Charlie Baker was joined by Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and Department of Agricultural Resources commissioner John Lebeaux to tap sugar maple trees in a ceremony at Hollis Hills Farm in Fitchburg.
“We call the event the passage of spring,” Jordan said in a telephone interview.
The event also celebrates March as Massachusetts Maple Month — a declaration Baker made to honor the role of maple production in the state’s economy.