Only a maple syrup maker will be happy about this:

by Peter 4/9/2014 3:24:00 AM

We are at what is traditionally the end of our maple syrup season in the Minnesota area.  However, in our forest, there is still snow on the ground and ice on the lake.  Today is forecasted to be "very nice" in the eyes of most people, into the 70's.  That is too warm for sap to flow, so we will take advantage of the break in sap flow to clean out our equipment and prepare for what might be great runs during the March-like weather in mid-April.  Maple syruping continues to be the perfect spring hobby (albeit getting a tad out of control).  It gives us a reason to smile about a weather forecast that makes other people scowl.  

Syrup production is going well.  We have made approximately 330 gallons of syrup so far, with more on the way.  The sap runs, and the syrup production that follows, have resulted in Maple Madness in the sugar house.  Usually we are able to bottle syrup in the morning, then produce more later in the day.  Recently we have only been able to produce it all day and put the syrup in 15 gallon stainless steal barrels for later bottling.  However, we were running out of barrels.  I bottled like crazy yesterday, while my dad boiled.  It is sort of like being on a syrup treadmill.  Despite bottling 73 gallons of syrup, we didn't make any progress towards freeing up more barrels.  The result is we placed a rush order on 10 more barrels so we can keep making syrup.  Looking at the forecast, that might not have been enough!  (But it is all that was in stock.)


70 gallons and counting

by Peter 4/1/2014 7:59:00 AM

We processed 1100 gallons of sap last evening into 26 gallons of tasty dark amber syrup.  The sap flows so far have been a tad slower than we would like.  The 1100 gallons is just slightly more than one gallon per tap.   Sunday night stayed above freezing and when that happens the rate of sap flow decreases.  Monday night dropped down into the low 20's, so we should have decent flows as soon as the weather warms up.  The 10-day forecast continues to look promising for sap flow.  However, at times the 10-day forecast is often like a mirage in the desert.  The weather is always good four days out, then some front moves through or a weather system stalls, preventing the good weather from getting here--it just stays four days out on the calendar!  

We have updated which sizes of bottles are currently available under the Buy Syrup tab.  As always, we will sell the syrup on a first come, first served basis.  Remember, it doesn't have an expiration date and doesn't need to be refrigerated until it is opened.  

First Syrup Made

by Peter 3/31/2014 5:56:00 AM

We made our first syrup of the season yesterday.  Our first boil was on Thursday, March 27th.  We didn't get any finished syrup during the first boil because it takes quite a bit of sap to establish the concentration gradient in the pan.  We collected about 1100 gallons of sap on Friday and Saturday, allowing us to boil on Sunday afternoon.  After about an hour of boiling we had our first draw off.  It was a huge draw off of nearly 20 gallons of delicious dark amber syrup.  We finished the day with 44 gallons of syrup.  We bottled up most of the syrup into a variety of different size containers. 

It is impossible to predict how good the season is going to be.  There are so many variables: the duration of the freeze/thaw cycle, the soil moisture level, precipitation during the season, and frost in the ground.  The initial sap flows have been encouraging and the 10 day weather forecast is promising.  We are crossing our fingers for a successful season!