Slow start to maple season in chilly Massachusetts

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Photo - In this March 9, 2014 photo, Turtle Lane Maple farmer Paul Boulanger taps a maple tree by headlamp Sunday evening in North Andover, Mass. Maple syrup season is finally under way in Massachusetts after getting off to a slow start because of unusually cold weather. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
In this March 9, 2014 photo, Turtle Lane Maple farmer Paul Boulanger taps a maple tree by headlamp Sunday evening in North Andover, Mass. Maple syrup season is finally under way in Massachusetts after getting off to a slow start because of unusually cold weather. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (AP) — Maple season is off to a slow start this year in chilly Massachusetts and many other states.

Typically maple season starts at the end of February. But despite being well into March, temperatures have been too low for the sap to drip out.

Maple experts say it's too early to tell if the late start will affect the overall season. But drastically fluctuating temperatures will be bad news.

They say a gradual warm-up is ideal for maple sugar production.

Last year, Massachusetts produced about 63,000 gallons of syrup, ranking ninth in maple production nationwide.

A small farm north of Boston called Turtle Lane Maple Farm was able to tap some syrup last weekend. Owner Paul Boulanger says he'll be happy if his farm produces 60 percent of last year's total.

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