Taps are in!

by Peter 2/20/2012 2:17:00 PM

We spent this past Saturday drilling holes and pounding spiles.  In just one day, we were able to install all 650 taps.  This was a dramatic and welcome change from last season when it took many days to accomplish the same task.  Last year Don and Peter were debating with each other whether it was easier to walk clumsily in snowshoes and have a difficult time stepping over and under the tubing lines or if it was better to be in boots and sink over two feet, but be able to not trip on the lines.  Neither option was an easy option.  This year, in contrast, we could have jogged through the woods with hardly a care.  There is little snow covering the forest floor, so installing taps was a breeze. 

The lack of snow is concerning for us this season.  There are so many variables that influence sap flow, that it seems difficult to isolate how one change will increase or decrease sap yield.  But one trend that seems to stand out over time is that Winters that have heavy snowfall are followed by strong Spring sap flows.  We have a couple of hypotheses about why this might happen: 1) the snow delays prolonged warm periods, increasing the number of days where temperatures fluctuate around the freezing point; and 2) the snow provides needed moisture to the tree.  This year we entered winter in near drought conditions and followed that up with one of the warmest and driest winters on record.  Our prediction is that this will be a weak season, but we hope that we are wrong. 

This is the earliest that we have ever installed our taps and seen sap flow.  There was minor flow from about 10% of the trees on the south facing taps.  There certainly isn't enough sap to boil yet.  The upcoming weather looks promising for sap flow, but it seems like early flows are usually weaker in our sugarbush.  However, we are certainly ready to start boiling.  The beautiful weather on Saturday and Sunday, along with completed tapping, allowed us to clean all of the equipment in preparation for the work ahead. 

We are currently sold out of most sizes of maple syrup.  We will be filling orders on a first come, first served basis once production resumes.  Please feel free to send in your orders via email to

Maple Cream and other Musings!

by Don 12/4/2011 8:47:00 AM

The final batch of maple cream was made today and when it is gone, we'll have to wait for Spring 2012 and hope for a good supply of light amber syrup. If you anticipate running out before April 2012, it would be wise to place your order. The cream will store just fine in the freezer. For those of you who haven't tried this delicious product, it is made from pure light amber maple syrup, heated to around 235 degrees, cooled and the taffy-like consistency comes out of the maple cream machine like frosting or spun honey. Quite simply, there isn't anything else like it and putting it on toast or between ginger cookies is divine!

 With only an inch or two of snow on the ground and the lakes not frozen , we are experiencing a very dry season. We are down 5-7" of moisture and this is the first time we have seen cracks in the soil throughout our 17 acres of forest. Here is a link for more weather info for the Twin Cities:   What effect this will have on spring sap flow remains to be seen.

 With the holiday season in full swing, consider making your gift giving easy and have us ship some maple syrup or maple cream to friends and family. 

Fall News from the Sugarbush

by Don 11/13/2011 12:51:00 PM

The crisp morning air of autumn gets the Somerskogen team motivated to complete our fall work in preparation for the 2012 maple season.

This summer we experienced harsh, straight line winds which not only dropped branches on most all of our lines, but it also snapped off mature maples as large as 70 feet tall and over 110 years old! We had planned on expanding the size of our sugarbush this year, but with all the storm damage, we haven't had the time.

More than a dozen trees were lost and power equipment was required to remove much of it from the sugarbush.  On a positive note, we will definitely have enough firewood for the evaporator for a few years!

Our supply of syrup is starting to dwindle. Check your supplies and place your order before the holidays to avoid being disappointed. The Somerskogen plastic jugs in a variety of sizes are easy to ship to friends and relatives.

The maple cream has been very popular. One returning customer has been eating so much of it he thinks he may need a 12 step program! He was only joking, but you get the idea! It's very tasty!!