A slow start

by Don 3/22/2009 12:44:00 AM
Temperatures have been unseasonably warm with few nights in the low 20's. Yesterday we expected a large volume of sap with below freezing at night, bright blue skies the following day and temps in the 40's. We boiled all the sap possible and made 25 gallons of rich dark amber with a robust maple flavor.  We are optimistic the weather will turn cold at night in the near future and this will jumpstart the sap flow. We hope to have another banner year!

First Boil of the Season

by Don 3/17/2009 9:13:00 AM

Yesterday we had our first boil of the season after installing our new 4'x5' syrup pan.  After boiling for five hours, we had to shut down before getting any syrup.  But today we were able to draw off 10 gallons of syrup from 450 gallons of sap.  Since the weather has warmed up, we are out of sap for the next day or so. We're hoping for some colder nights to kick start more sap flow!

With the help of some friends, we've made several improvements to the sugarhouse, including putting up new lights, building a cedar enclosure to insulate the (very noisy) vacuum pump system, and expanding our sap storage capacity.  These changes will improve our efficiency and make the boiling process much smoother (and quieter!).  We've also raised the steam hood nine inches over the syrup pan so we can keep better track of the syrup's progress and show visitors how sap becomes syrup.  Having the syrup pan more open also makes my mouth water from the rich maple aroma.

The Season has Begun

by Don 3/5/2009 12:58:00 PM

Our patience has been rewarded. Last week 650 taps were installed on our 17 acre sugarbush by our son and his brother-in-law. Although the weather was in the teens, the forecast suggested that the season was about to begin. We have incorporated the new spile extensions which allows a sanitary surface to make contact with the tree. This allows the tap hole to remain open and produce sap without bacterial overgrowth. This will also result in greater sap production per tap. We have learned that attention to detail results in increased volume and quality of our syrup.

The forecast looks promising with temperatures in the 40's and a potential low pressure system coming through. We turned on our vacuum pump and we are generating 19" of negative pressure. We will be walking the pipeline checking for leaks.

We are optimistic we are going to have a great year! Hopefully our first boil will be this weekend.