The fourth annual National Maple Syrup Festival starts this weekend, but what impact will weird weather patterns have on this year’s harvest?
Warmer Weather, Earlier Harvest
Tim Burton, owner of Burton’s Maplewood Farms, which hosts the festival, says sap started to flow the first week of January, far sooner than usual for southwestern Indiana.
The sudden sap flow has caught many sappers off guard.
“Tapping a tree is like a chess match — you don’t want to get out there too early or too late,” Burton explains. “You want to make a move at the precise time.”
He compares a tree to the human body. As soon as the tree is “scratched,” it begins to “heal.” Tapping too soon can result in the need for multiple tappings.
Birthplace Of Maple Syrup
Southern Indiana is uniquely situated to host the National Maple Syrup Festival. As the southernmost state in the Maple Belt, Indiana is the first state to tap their trees.
“It’s one reason we have the festival in the birthplace of the season,” Burton says.
New at the festival this year is a ceremonial tapping of a maple tree. Indiana state director of agriculture Joseph Kelsay will tap the tree, signifying the start of the season.
The Fourth Annual National Maple Syrup Festival is at Burton’s Maplewood Farm, located at 8121 W. County Rd. 75 S., Medora, Indiana. It runs the first two weekends in March.