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Late Season Snow and Sap Flow Weakens

by Don 4/17/2014 10:24:00 AM

We were greeted by 3 inches of wet snow as we closed out our maple syrup production for the 2014 season.Sap flow decreased to less than 1/2 gal. per tap, but more importantly, the sugar content in the sap dropped to 1.4 % ( compared to ave. of 2.4 % ). This translates to over 60 gal. of sap to make a single gal. of syrup. This yield is too low to justify the time and wood necessary to continue on.We completed the day with 30 gal. of syrup. This closes out the production phase for us and ushers in the enjoyment phase for you. We only have a limited amount of Grade B syrup. If this is your preference, please order early to avoid disappointment.**** Email your preference for Grade B, available in quarts or gallons.

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The Final Flows

by Peter 4/16/2014 3:05:00 AM

The ice on the lake is nearly out, green shoots are emerging from the forest floor, and the buds will start to swell soon.  After a week of warm, comfortable temperatures that have signaled that Spring might finally be here, we have had a series of cold nights.  These few freezing temperatures have been enough to cause the trees to run a few more days.  But looking at the 10 day forecast, the freeze/thaw cycle looks like it is about to end.  This will cause the sap to stop flowing and the taste of the sap to change slightly.

Last night we made 15 gallons of syrup, which put our season total at 406 gallons.  This exceeds our annual production record that we set last year of 394 gallons.  It doesn't appear that we will reach the record for syrup per taphole that we set in 2011, when we made about 350 gallons from 700 taps.  This year we put out a little over 1000 taps, so we would have to make about 100 gallons more to beat that record.  This seems unlikely at this point.

 

Only a maple syrup maker will be happy about this:

by Peter 4/9/2014 3:24:00 AM

http://www.startribune.com/weather/blogs/Paul_Douglas_on_Weather.html

We are at what is traditionally the end of our maple syrup season in the Minnesota area.  However, in our forest, there is still snow on the ground and ice on the lake.  Today is forecasted to be "very nice" in the eyes of most people, into the 70's.  That is too warm for sap to flow, so we will take advantage of the break in sap flow to clean out our equipment and prepare for what might be great runs during the March-like weather in mid-April.  Maple syruping continues to be the perfect spring hobby (albeit getting a tad out of control).  It gives us a reason to smile about a weather forecast that makes other people scowl.  

Syrup production is going well.  We have made approximately 330 gallons of syrup so far, with more on the way.  The sap runs, and the syrup production that follows, have resulted in Maple Madness in the sugar house.  Usually we are able to bottle syrup in the morning, then produce more later in the day.  Recently we have only been able to produce it all day and put the syrup in 15 gallon stainless steal barrels for later bottling.  However, we were running out of barrels.  I bottled like crazy yesterday, while my dad boiled.  It is sort of like being on a syrup treadmill.  Despite bottling 73 gallons of syrup, we didn't make any progress towards freeing up more barrels.  The result is we placed a rush order on 10 more barrels so we can keep making syrup.  Looking at the forecast, that might not have been enough!  (But it is all that was in stock.)