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Short, but still sweet!

by Don 4/8/2015 4:01:00 AM

Our season came to a whimpering finish last Saturday, the 4th of April.  As the warm days extended into the nights consecutively for much of the week, the sap flow slowed to a drizzle and began to develop a cloudiness, which is one of the signs that the season is nearing an end.

We concluded the season on April 4th and now are in the process of breaking down, servicing and cleaning our equipment.

We are now prepared to begin bottling and shipping the syrup we've all been patiently awaiting.

You may notice a change in the labeling of syrup this year. The International Maple Syrup Producers have adopted a new uniform grading system.  While still based on color, the previous 4 grades (Light Amber, Medium Amber, Dark Amber and Grade B) have now been reclassified into only 3 grades, all labeled Grade A (Light Delicate, Medium Rich and Dark Robust).

If you prefer the strongest maple flavor, choose the Grade A Dark Robust.  The new grading system has added the descriptive adjectives to enhance the consumer's understanding of maple syrup grading.  We hope you don't find it too confusing.

Whichever Somerskogen Syrup you try, we know you will enjoy it!!

A Good Week

by Peter 4/2/2015 8:05:00 AM

Starting on Saturday morning, we were able to make 155 gallons of syrup in four days.  Our best day was on Sunday when we made 65 gallons of syrup.  This was a single day record for us.  The excellent sap flow on Saturday and Sunday was caused by a very cold night on Friday that was followed by a quick warm up during the day.  

The past few days, when temperatures have shot up into the mid-70's, we haven't collected as much sap because we haven't had freezing nights.  To keep the sap fresh we filter it and refrigerate it with our bulk tanks that used to be on dairy farms.  This preserves the sap nicely during warm weather.  Without refrigeration, the sap would degrade quickly with warm temperatures.

An interesting thing that we've observed this year is that the syrup tastes a lot better.  We aren't sure why.  My dad and I tossed around possibilities, including a better growing season last year, a well timed snow fall that allowed the trees to access nutrients from the soil, or the larger diameter filtering aid that we switched to.  Almost every large maple syrup producer uses a filter press to remove precipitated minerals from the syrup.  Essentially it is a small gear pump that pushes the syrup through fine papers.  A filter aid, called diatomaceous earth (DE), is used to increase the capacity of the papers before they get clogged.  The DE that we used to use was one micron in size.  After reading research that four micron DE still took out visual impurities, but allowed for a faster flow rate, we tried the larger size.  The syrup is still just as clear, but we are wondering if there are some other things that can now get through the DE that are adding to the flavor.  We don't entirely know why the syrup tastes even better, but the bottom line is the syrup tastes really good!  

There are still a couple of freezing nights that are forecast for the next week.  However, the 10 day trend appears to show that we are moving well above the freezing point.  We might be done with our syrup season pretty quickly because as soon as the buds come out, the sap tastes different and gives an off taste to the finished syrup.  Our total syrup production at this point in the season is 215 gallons.  Our overall total last year was 435 gallons.