Sap Insanity!

by Don 3/18/2021 12:52:00 PM

Two days ago, on March 16th, the sun began thawing the sap after our cold spell and 5" of snow.  The flow increased throughout the day and by dinnertime we had 2,000 gallons! With a few calculations, we determined we were collecting over one pint of sap/tap/hour for most of the day! We don't recall a run this robust in our 27 years of syruping.  We're grateful we've had a Reverse Osmosis machine to concentrate all the sap. After a very long day in the sugarhouse on the 17th, we finished with 60 gallons of very flavorful maple syrup. 

We have had some bumps in the road this season. We have a special propane tank heater to make sure the LP vaporizers fast enough to keep up with our 1.2 million BTU burner.  The heater has malfunctioned and more than once we've noticed the boiling process slowing, as the gas is insufficient to keep with the the demand.  We hope to have this corrected this week with the installation of a new gas valve.

Another problem has been ice formation in our vacuum line.  This was the product of a faulty float in the mechanical releaser, which allowed sap to be suctioned into the vacuum line. It took three attempts, but the issue was corrected, and all systems are "go".

We have made over 280 gallons of maple syrup in the first 11 days of the season!In the days before vacuum, this would have been an average yield for a whole season.  We now shoot for double this amount with our high vacuum system.

 The weather forecast appears quite favorable for the next 3 days, before a warming spell appears.  Stay tuned!



March 14th (Pi Day) Update

by Don 3/14/2021 11:13:00 AM

Since our last update, the weather has been very favorable for the last few days - lows in the 20's, and highs in the 40's.  The warming sun has made it pleasant to be in the woods, and encouraged the trees to begin giving up sap by mid-mornings.  We have been obtaining over 1 gallon of sap per tap per day (we have 1200 taps).

All of our syrup has been a rich and delicious dark robust flavor.  Under the older classification, this would be "dark amber". Our sap remains consistent at 1.8% sugar concentration, which means it takes approximately 43 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.

We are able to concentrate the sap further than 1.8% through our reverse osmosis (RO) machine to 8%. While this may seems a modest improvement, it actually means 75% of the water is removed.  The savings in time and energy equals 75% as well. Instead of being able to make about 3 gallons of syrup per hour, we can bump it up to 11 gallons!

We are keeping pace with our production of last year, and hope for continued good flows for several more weeks. 

Thanks for reading our post, and we'll update later in the week. 

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.