There are two schools of thought when it comes to the decision about whether to start tapping during warm spells like this one, said the owner of one Maine sugar house. One is that “you get sap whenever you can, wherever you can,” Michael Bryant said.

The other says that winter likely will return, and tapping too early risks headaches with sap tanks freezing and thawing along with other problems that can cut into profits. The sugar content of sap is also lower at the start and it will take more sap to make a gallon of syrup.

The timing of this year’s sap run is no indication of what's to come, though. Producers say there’s no predicting whether this will be a shorter maple syrup season or a longer one.

“My favorite expression, when someone wants to know what kind of season it’s going to be, is it’s like baseball,” said Clark Cole, owner of Clark Cole Family Pure Maple Syrup in Dayton, Maine. “I can tell you at the end of the season.”