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Fini, Complete, Through, End!

by Don 4/15/2020 3:06:00 PM

Whatever word we choose, the result remains the same. The 2020 maple syrup season at Somerskogen has come to an end. Our last collection of sap was on April 6th, exactly one month after our first collection of the season. 

We made our last syrup on April 7th, finishing with 643 gallons of syrup on 1200 taps. As the season progressed, we noted a drop in the sugar content of the sap from 2% to 1.4%, which then required 61 gallons of sap to make one gallon of finished syrup. If not for our reverse osmosis , which removes 75% of the water before we start boiling, the last day would have been beyond tedious! All of this year's maple syrup was very full-flavored and the majority is designated Amber Rich - "amber" for the color and "rich" for the taste.

As I mentioned, we set a new record of 643 gallons and it was a test of our system, as Mary and I handled the season amid the social distancing required during the pandemic. Family and friends were unable to join us in what is usually a joyful, communal season of syrup!

All of our taps have been removed and preliminary cleanup is underway. We find we save the outdoor tasks for the glorious warm, sunny days of April (when they appear!)

We have received a record number of orders, perhaps because people across the nation have been enjoying forced eating at home.   We also received  orders from Colorado after a television station aired the Somerskogen feature made by Ron Shara Productions - known around Minnesota as Minnesota Bound. In Colorado it was aired on the outdoor show "Due North". This was quite a surprise and we were happy to hear Colorado heard about Somerskogen Sugarbush!

We hope you are able to remain healthy, as we remain in the Twilight Zone, caused by the pandemic. We are ready and able to ship maple syrup at this time, so place your orders soon. We have the 2020 season bottled up in plastic pints, quarts, half-gallons and gallons, so you can enjoy the 2020 vintage - probably the best tasting maple syrup we've produced. We'll be bottling more of the 2020 season in the next few weeks.

We look forward to keeping in touch with you! Thanks for reading the Somerskogen blog this spring! 

Solen er oppe!

by Don 4/4/2020 10:17:00 AM

 

 

 

  

 

The above is a Norwegian toast to the sun that our family has done over the years before going out fishing, skiing, or various family events. 

Today is a perfect day for the salute! The bright sun, without a cloud in the sky, is piercing through all parts of our forest, and waking up the maple trees for what will be our last weekend of the 2020 maple syrup season.. The future forecast predicts weather in the 60's next week- nice to be outside, but easy spoiling of sap with such warm weather.

On March 31st we shattered our previous record of 545 gallons of syrup set 3 seasons ago. We anticipate making another 40-60 gallons of delicious syrup tomorrow, and/or the next day.  We have made the first Dark Robust syrup of the season as the warmer days have encouraged microbial action on the sucrose sugar to break it down to glucose and fructose.  These two sugars caramelize easier and impart not only darker color, but stronger maple flavor.

As I write this note, it is 22° outside, but projected to hit 46° this afternoon.  The flow should be prolific today and tomorrow. We have enjoyed having this hobby during the "Stay at home" period and the cleanup in the sugarbush will consume at least an additional week of activity. 

We hope all remain safe and healthy as we adjust to this "new normal".

For those interested, here is our family's accepted translation of the Norwegian soliloquy:

      The sun is up

The sun is up, it's a clear day

The rooster greets with flapping wing

Up with the banner, all hands to the work,

All together,

   Cheers!

          

 

 

Good News from the sugarbush!

by Don 3/28/2020 10:20:00 AM

We can all use some good news these days, so we'll do our part from the sugarbush at Somerskogen. The pandemic isn't affecting the flow of sap, the birds and frogs are making their return and spring sounds, and the ice is retreating off of Whaletail Lake.

We have had a gorgeous week of warm sunny days in the 40' and 50's, which not only delivered superior sap flow, but a bright warm environment to work in.  The snow has melted completely in the woods, replaced with small streams winding a course, down to the lake.

The syrup remains all amber rich with an intense maple flavor and superior taste. We have noticed an increase in the sugar sand deposited on the pans.  Sugar sand, or niter, is a mineral deposit (mostly calcium malate), along with trapped sugar that forms on the bottom and sides of the pans.  We try to keep this under control as this can build up and cause "hot spots", scorching the pan. We have an extra pan so we can place a new one, while we clean the sugar sand off the used pan. Hot water and a little elbow grease goes a long way!

Yesterday we reached a new record of syrup production at Somerskogen! Our previous record of making 545 gallons of delicious maple syrup was in 2018. We are now at 570 gallons of syrup and the season hasn't ended yet!!! We have 1200 taps and our target is 1/2 gallon/tap with our high-vacuum system.

 Weather wise, it looks fairly good for sap flow for much of this next week, and then likely will end.  If we get a night  below freezing that some models predict, we could go a bit longer. The sap still tastes good as it enters the receiving tank low in the woods, and the sugar content has stayed consistent at 2%. 

Soon we'll be bottling this year's maple syrup, so keep us in mind. We're confident you'll be very pleased with the taste of the 2020 maple syrup.