CORNWALL, Ontario - Maple syrup production has begun - big time.
Area sugar bushes are ramping up production as the daytime temperatures are going beyond freezing, and then dipping below zero at night - ideal conditions for tapping trees for sap.
Angela Coleman, co-owner of the Sand Road Sugar Camp in Moose Creek with her husband Scott, said in an interview things are "bustling" out in the bush.
"It's really rolling...this is a busy time of year," she said in an interview.
There were concerns heading into this maple syrup season that trees might struggle to produce as much as many would like. A drought last summer saw some trees dropping leaves in late summer, a so-called "canopy die-back" that trees employ as a defense mechanism when they are dehydrated.
Coleman said many trees suffered with die-back last summer, but this region was spared the worst of it.
"In the Renfrew area...if you had a cottage out there you really noticed it," she said. "It could have been really substative here...and I suspect in other regions it is."
But Coleman suggested the Cornwall region will come away from last year's drought with an "average to maybe better than average" syrup production season.
"It seems the trees are happy," she said. "The sap flow is going well.
"The trees have really taken the opportunity to recharge with the snowmelt."
Sub-zero temperatures are foreast for a couple of days this week, which will slow sap production a ittle, which should extend the season slightly.
Sand Road Sugar Camp (www.sandroadsugarcamp.com) taps 2,700 trees over 75 acres.