JACKSONTOWN - As much as most people have enjoyed this year’s unusually warm winter, some at Dawes Arboretum could’ve used a few more cold days. Darrell Romine, director of facilities & grounds, confirmed that Dawes was low on sap for its annual Maple Syrup Madness event this year, said Dawes Education Director Jenny Pope. “In his memory this has been the worst to date,” she said. “It’s weather related. Our days have been too warm. Luckily, enough sap’s been collected for our educational outreach and for thank you gifts for the volunteers.”
The ideal temperatures for the sap to run are in the low 20s at night with highs in the low to mid 40s during daytime. “I think last week's warm days killed us,” said Pope.
As of Tuesday—the event runs through March 10—Pope said this year’s attendance has been on par with previous years, but she said she wouldn’t know for certain until after the event’s final day. “I believe our numbers might have been better if the weather cooperated for our public tours,” she said. “Ironically, the coldest, windiest, days were on Saturday when we do our public tours.”
There are a couple things people may not know about syruping at Dawes, said Pope. One is that even though much of the process takes place at Dawes’ log cabin, the finishing process takes place in the maintenance department, where the final boil, sieving, and bottling are completed. “We are not allowed to sell the syrup we make here,” she said. “We are allowed to give it away for free as part of the tour. The sample at the cabin is our syrup, but what we sell in the gift shop is from Chardon, Ohio.”
The final maple syrup public tour for the year is Saturday, March 10 at 2 p.m. It’s free and departs from the Main Shelter House. Travel back in time on this guided tour as the fascinating history of maple syrup production is revealed. A warm fire, lots of sweet-smelling steam, and samples of syrup await at the journey’s end. Groups can book tours through the Education Department.