Maple Sap Collection At A Low For Fairfield County Farms

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One of Ambler Farm's high school volunteers 15-year-old Corey Sabia explains how the farm makes maple syrup from the sap they collect across Wilton. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Wilton resident Sarah Santisi said that she and her sons, Logan 6 and Kyle 4, went to the open house last year and have always enjoyed Ambler  Farm.
Wilton resident Sarah Santisi said that she and her sons, Logan 6 and Kyle 4, went to the open house last year and have always enjoyed Ambler Farm. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
The farm collects from 500 taps at 10 different sites around Wilton.
The farm collects from 500 taps at 10 different sites around Wilton. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Kevin Meehan with some of the high school volunteers from Wilton and the surrounding towns who make the syrup.
Kevin Meehan with some of the high school volunteers from Wilton and the surrounding towns who make the syrup. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Because of the freezing temperatures of the last month, Kevin Meehan has been collecting 12 garbage cans full of frozen sap to melt down and turn into syrup.
Because of the freezing temperatures of the last month, Kevin Meehan has been collecting 12 garbage cans full of frozen sap to melt down and turn into syrup. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith
Kevin Meehan watches over the frozen sap get boiled down over an open fire the way the settlers did.
Kevin Meehan watches over the frozen sap get boiled down over an open fire the way the settlers did. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

WILTON, Conn. - The long stretches of cold days and nights has messed up the natural balance of maple syrup production, at least at Ambler Farm in Wilton. 

So far, there have only been five days of sap run in a season that normally lasts for five weeks, said Kevin Meehan, the program director at Ambler Farm. 

"Last year we had 3,000 gallons of sap," Meehan said, so far this year they've only collected 1,100 gallons. And when it takes roughly 40 gallons of sap to create one gallon of maple syrup, it means that there is likely to be a shortage of maple syrup coming from the region this year.

By this time last year, the farm had made a record 1,500 bottles of syrup, this year they have only made 216. 

"I'm probably the only person hoping it stays cold," Meehan said to those who went to farm's Maple Syrup Open House, Saturday afternoon.

He explained to the nearly 100 people there that in order to get the sap to make the syrup there needs to be warm days and cold nights so the sap runs up and down the tree instead of staying in the roots or at the top of the tree. 

The farm collects from 500 taps at 10 different sites around Wilton, including 50 sugar maples at Middlebrook Middle School. Many of the taps are sponsored by local families who collect the sap weekly to be made into maple syrup.

Becoming one of the tap sponsors is probably in the future for the Santisi family of Wilton. Sarah Santisi said that she and her sons, Logan 6 and Kyle 4, went to the open house last year and have always enjoyed Ambler  Farm.

"They really like learning about the Indians," Santisi said, talking about one of the demonstrations the farm has. 

As for making the syrup, the farm looks to the 10 to 12 high school volunteers who spend around 8 hours keeping watch over the boiling sap as it turns into maple syrup. 

"I couldn't do this with out the students," because they can volunteer so much time Meehan said, something he learned in the last seven years of making syrup. 

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