Led by their superbly organized president, Jen Moran, The Sugar Makers Club held their March 26th meeting at Unity House.
Club business focused mostly on scheduling and signing up volunteers for a wide variety of events, including the popular Pancake Breakfast and Earth Day. Other tasks included taking buckets down, removing taps from trees, and cleaning this equipment for storage until the next season. There was no shortage of volunteers; everyone at the meeting was eager to participate.
Club members voiced some concern over whether they would have enough syrup for the Pancake Breakfast. Jen reported that the unusual heat wave in mid-March resulted in a short season for sap collection. Although the club still had about 50 gallons of sap left to boil as of the date of the meeting, it expects to produce only 4 gallons of maple syrup this year as opposed to the 14 gallons it produced last year. A recent Associated Press article in the Maine Sunday Telegram indicates that the heat wave produced similar problems in states as far away as Wisconsin.
The club boils sap and stores equipment in the Sugar Shack, pictured at right, which was built by club members in 2007. Sap runs when temperatures fall below freezing at night and rise to above freezing during the day, so the season here usually runs from the end of February until early April. Stephen popped in to tell us that climate change will affect this pattern. For a very readable study on this topic from the Consortium for Atlantic Regional Assessment , click here.
It's easy to see why the Sugar Makers are a popular club at Unity College: they have a diverse and dedicated membership, they produce a highly-valued, traditional New England treat, and they also make some pretty stylish jackets available for members who complete a certain number of service hours. Deborah was gracious enough to model her jacket in these photos.
Stephen and I will both be looking forward to the Pancake Breakfast this year and to checking out the Sugar Shack in upcoming seasons!