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Update from Day 5!

by Mary 3/10/2021 10:22:00 AM

With unseasonably warm weather the last few days (a new high of 62° on 3/9), the maple trees are "waking up" and releasing the sap. We have 500 gallons of super concentrated sap (10 Brix - or % sugar) after the sap has gone through the Reverse Osmosis machine. Coming out of the tree, the sugar content in the sap is 1.8 - 2.2 % sugar. 

With the new Jones Rule of 88.2 for 66.9° Brix Syrup, this means it will only take 8.5 gallons to make 1 gallons of syrup. 

  

 

The Season Has Begun - The Race to Maple Syrup is On!

by Don 3/7/2021 2:40:00 PM

Temperatures have been warmer than average for early March and we began collecting sap on March 2nd. The initial best flows come from the southern exposed trees, which bask in spring sun early in the season. 

One of our first tasks is to walk the entire sugarbush looking for any leaks in the tubing, or loose spiles in the trees. The vacuum pump can generate a potential vacuum of 28-29 inches of mercury. When I first turned on the pump we were at a disappointing 10 inches!!!!! This meant a major leak, or multiple minor leaks throughout the sugarbush. We walked the woods, listening for the high-pitched whistle, signaling a leak. They are most often due to squirrels chewing on the tubing, maybe sensing delicious sweet sap. The damaged tubing  is replaced, or if it's minimal, we can wrap cold weather electrical tape to seal it!!!Fortunately, we don't seem to have any damage to the tubing from deer roaming the property. 

The next 10-12 days look very favorable for sap flows.  We have begun processing the first 1300 gallons of sap we've collected. Today we will see how our evaporator runs for the 2021 season. Check back to see the results!

 

Here Comes the Sun - and soon the SAP of 2021!

by Don 2/26/2021 3:52:00 PM

  This is the time of year that I start singing this Beatle's song, notice a quickening in my pace, and appreciate the coming of a new syruping season. 

  The isolation during this COVID-19 period has given us generous time to almost leisurely prepare for this season. All 1200 taps are in, due in large part to our son, Peter, and grandchildren, Jack and Greta. The equipment is all operational and has been shined to showroom condition. 

  We have culled some of the aging trees that have suffered the consequences of multiple years of excess moisture.  Turnover in the forest is expected, but much like the Big Woods of Nerstrand State Park, in southern Minnesota, we have seen more trees dying or looking stressed. We still have a robust forest of maple, and the thinning of trees allows some of the younger maples to flourish.

  We continue to practice the annual replacement of spiles and any drop lines that have squirrel damage. Producers who don't replace spiles each year see reduced yield, due to bacteria on the old spile. This stimulates the tree to begin the healing process prematurely at the tap hole.  Once again, adoption of best practices provides us with the greatest opportunity for a superior product. 

  We turn on the vacuum system whenever the temperature reaches 32 degrees. Even though we have hit 40 degrees for short periods, the first flows are delayed and more of a trickle. After a slight dip in temperatures this weekend, a warmup is forecast, which looks very favorable for sap flow. Last year our first boil of sap was March 6th, so we're right on track.

  If you are thinking of tapping some maples in your yard, I would do it now.

  Recheck this blog for updates on our syrup season!