ST. JOSEPH (WJON News) -- Our warm winter means an early start to the maple syrup season in central Minnesota.

Shelly Carlson and her family own Wildwood Ranch Maple Syrup near St. Joseph. She says they just finished tapping the vacuum tubing lines on the trees Monday and they are trying to collect some sap Tuesday.

Some other places have been collecting sap for about a week already.

She says the early start to the season caught them off guard.

Usually our normal start time, we usually tap the trees around the first week of March and the average start of the maple season in central Minnesota is around the 15th or 20th of March, so we're way early.

She says she remembers 2002 and 2017 having early springs as well with sap collecting in mid-February. Carlson says some snow yet this year would be a good thing.

If we get some snow that will definitely extend the season, that's called a "sugar snow" and that keeps the roots of the trees cooler and the woods cooler so the trees don't think about budding out quite as early.

The ideal weather for sap collection is 20s for overnight lows and 30s to 40s during the day.

She says last year being a drought year that usually means the sugar content in the sap will be higher so you don't need as much sap to make a gallon of syrup.

They collect their sap in the Kraemer Lake-Wildwood County Park near St. Joseph. Carlson says her dad began collecting sap back in 1979.

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The Wildwood Ranch Maple Syrup usually sells its product at local places like Minnesota Street Market in St. Joseph, Backwards Bread Company in St. Cloud, the Farmers Market in St. Joseph, and their own Sugar Shack.


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