Chepachet Farms expecting near-normal maple harvest despite wonky winter weather


GLOCESTER, R.I. (WPRI) — The production of maple syrup can lead to sweet success – if Mother Nature cooperates!

Jody & Neil Esposito of Chepachet Farms told Eyewitness News, weather plays a vital role when a maple tree will start to produce its sap – after all, it’s their business.

This winter has seen its ups and downs – but, it hasn’t been all bad news for maple sugarers.

“We haven’t started our season yet,” said Neil Espositio co-owner of Chepachet Farms. The sap hasn’t started flowing at this Glocester sugar bush, yet. Though the sap should begin flowing “any day now.”

“We should have had a lot of colder weather by now. The ground should have been frozen for a lot longer and it hasn’t.” Neil says having the ground frozen is one of the key first steps.

“If it stays above freezing it [the sap] doesn’t want to travel up and down the tree.”

Otherwise, the sap will remain towards the base of the tree making difficult to harvest any sap.

“When it thaws [the frozen ground] it gives it [the sap] a good push [up the tree] and gives you good runs,” said Neil Esposito.

With the colder temperatures this past weekend, the Esposito’s say it has helped out in a big way.

The couple is hopeful the sap will begin to run this coming week.

The Esposito’s maintain a sugar bush of 300 swamp maple trees, 500 taps, and around 2 miles of tubing that deliver the sap to large collection containers.

Prime weather conditions.

To get the sap flowing temperatures during the day need to climb to around 40°F and overnight night temperatures need to drop back into the 20s, that is the sweet spot.

“If it stays above freezing day and night – the trees will start to shut down,” said Neil Esposito.

For Neil and his wife, harvesting maple sap is a labor of love. “You have five weeks to do as much as you can – once you tap [the trees] you have five or six weeks to push out as much syrup as you can.”

As for the outlook for this year’s crop?

According to Neil, “we are on track to have a decent year.”

What does that boil down to you might be asking? Last year’s crop was 197 gallons of pure Rhode Island maple syrup!


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