A Manlius maple farmer is busier than ever, earlier than ever.
Tuesday afternoon, the Walberger family was tapping into maple trees.
"We've been watching the buds on the trees and they just keep getting bigger and bigger and that's a sign that you better get your taps in the trees otherwise you won't have much of a sap season," said Julia Walberger with Paradise Farms in Manlius.
The sap season typically doesn't start until late March so it's more than a month ahead of schedule. A sticky situation for maple farmers who are trying to predict the rest of an uncertain season. Walberger says it could either be really short, or has the potential to be a bit longer than usual. The problem, no one knows yet!
The cold nights and unusual warm days are causing the sap to flow, which is now being collected in bags and buckets. Then it's put in the humidifier and "boiled" down.
"We will actually do our first boil on February 1st, which is crazy," said Walberger. It's also crazy how quickly this small family operation is growing. Four years ago, they collected 7 buckets of sap. This year, it's closer to 800.
Their syrup has also passed the taste test, winning the blue ribbon at the state fair the past two years and launching their product to a whole new level.
"It's really incredible but we still do it the old fashioned way, one bucket, one bag at a time so there is a limit to what we can do. But we have great neighbors, with great maple trees. They have been very generous saying tap whatever you can and just send some syrup my way," said Walberger.
So from this farm, to neighbors tables and now, even local supermarkets, the Walberger's are just going with the flow hoping mother nature taps another sweet season.