The First Tree Tapping by The Waterloo Wellington Maple Syrup Producers (WWMSP) and the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival marks the official start to the maple syrup season. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in late winter and early spring. Maple trees are tapped by drilling holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap, which is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.
Maple syrup was first collected and used by the indigenous peoples of North America, and the practice was adopted by European settlers, who gradually refined production methods. Technological improvements in the 1970s further refined syrup processing.