A Record Start to Syruping!

by Don 2/21/2016 2:00:00 PM

The early tapping of our trees on February 2nd and 3rd proved fortuitous as a warm air mass jump started the sap flow on February 19th! We have been keeping records at Somerskogen since 1994, the year we acquired our sugarbush and the previous early start was February 24, 2002. By comparison, the latest start was March 22, 2005. Quite a variation!

Our preparations for the first boil are nearly complete.  The vacuum system is operational and able to deliver 22" of negative pressure throughout the sugarbush. Careful attention to leaks at individual taps or connections will optimize the achieved vacuum. A well-designed vacuum system can increase sap production by 50-100% over gravity flow.

The weather models look somewhat favorable over the next few days for continued sap flow before a cold front arrives next weekend.

Check our website often to keep up to date on the activity in the sugarbush.

Sap flow on the horizon

by Peter 2/15/2016 7:24:00 AM

We took advantage of the warm weekend of February 6-7 and got all of our approximately 900 taps in.  For each tap, we drilled a 5/16" hole about 2 inches into the tree.  Most trees have one tap, but some of the larger trees have two.  It is important to drill a circular hole, not allowing the drill bit to wander and enlarge the opening to an oval.  After the hole is checked for wood shavings and cleaned with a stick if necessary, a new plastic attachment, called a check-valve spile adapter, is inserted into the hole.  Then we attach the "drop line", which is the piece of tubing that connects the spile adapter to the 5/16" plastic tubing that flows downhill to the tank.  In the picture above, you can see Greta holding a drop line.  On occasion we have to replace a drop line because a squirrel damages it.  The drop line and check valve are then pounded into the tree. creating a tight seal.  This goes back to the importance of the circular hole.  It is important that the check valve seals the hole completely because all of the tubing is connected to a vacuum pump that helps pull the sap out of the tree.  If the seal isn't good, our vacuum pressure at the trees is lower and we get less sap.

The extended forecast looks like sap could start flowing towards the end of the week.  It is always hard to predict early season runs, but since this winter has been warmer than average, we are optimistic that sap will flow pretty well at the beginning of the season.  We did see some sap dripping out of the holes we were drilling on the south sides of the trees on the 7th.  This week and weekend, we will finish connecting all of the other parts needed to collect the sap: the vacuum releaser, sap lifters and moisture traps.  We will clean the tanks and hopefully start collecting sap. Once the vacuum is on, the next step will be to search the woods for leaks in the lines that we were unable to detect when we were putting taps in.  

Dark Robust (Grade B) Syrup Now Available

by Mary 11/15/2015 2:55:00 PM

 All of you foodies who have requested "Grade B" syrup are in luck, as we just finished bottling this syrup in plastic quarts. We have a limited supply of the dark syrup and when it is sold out, we'll have to hope for more during the 2016 season. This syrup has a deep flavor and will be excellent in many of the recipes in the Maple cookbook (see prior post).  If you are looking for a gift idea, consider packaging the Maple cookbook and a quart of the Dark Robust Syrup - certain to be a hit with anyone who enjoys good food and cooking in the kitchen.