TOWN OF BROWNVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s the start of maple season in the north country and local producers are ready to tap trees this weekend.
If you aren't looking for them, you probably won't even notice the miles of tubes that stretch across the region.
But these tiny tubes have a big job starting this weekend. It's syrup season.
"We are getting close. I plan on tapping Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. I'm hoping within three days I can get mine tapped. The weather forecast looks about perfect for me," said Shawn Massey, Massey Ranch maple producer.
Sap only flows when freezing nights turn into above freezing days. In this area, that usually gives producers a five or six week window to collect. At Massey's ranch in Brownville, he's preparing his technology to get every last drop.
"This is a gas-powered vacuum pump. We actually suck the sap out of the trees instead of using gravity," he said.
On a good day, one single maple tree can produce two or three gallons of sap. But that's still not a lot of maple syrup. Once it's boiled down, it's only about enough to fit in your hands.
"Sap to syrup is 40 to 1, so 40 gallons of sap makes one gallon of syrup, the rest of it gets boiled away in water," said Massey.
Another producer who's set for the sap is Lawrence Rudd, whose family has been making syrup for 99 years.
"All the lines are up in the sugar bush and every year we go through and this is what we call a drop line, we replace these every year," he said.
He too is tapping this weekend.
"And by next weekend, we should be rockin' and rollin', making syrup," said Rudd.
Although they're at the mercy of Mother Nature, local producers are hopeful for another sweet season.
“We’re going to be out there, we’re going to do the same amount of work, whether we have a good year or a bad year and we usually end up pretty good,” said Rudd.