Keeping a Social Distance at Somerskogen

by Don 3/17/2020 7:10:00 PM

The entire world has been focused on the pandemic of Coronavirus . Everyone's routine has been altered in response to pubic health issues.

The maple trees appear to have not gotten the news! They have been very active with ideal warming warming days in the 40's, triggering sap flows of more than a gallon per tap. The snow is melting rapidly and small streams are scattered on the hillsides.

We are nearing 300 gallons of finished syrup, which is usually 60% of an excellent harvest.  The sap remains crystal clear, suggesting more good flows ahead before warming periods take hold. All the syrup made thus far is a clear Amber Rich grade, with a delicious, outstanding taste.

It appears the next 3 days will bring robust flow before another cold spell with snow arrives in two days.

Stay safe and stay tuned!

And the sap flow begins!

by Don 3/9/2020 11:56:00 AM

The first week of March has historically been the period of tapping and preparation. However, we had some warm days in late January/mid-February and decided to tromp through the woods, putting in the 1200 taps when winter conditions were favorable. We're glad we did! Proving the adage that it's " better to be lucky than good". we were prepared for the early first run of the season on March 2nd. We obtained over 1 gallon of sap/tap for 4 consecutive days! This is greater than 25% of the season's predicted yield! At the end of the weekend, we had 108 gallons of finished syrup. We hope the good flow continues during this week, and in weeks to come.

 Our yield thus far has been a delicious amber rich syrup with a rich mouth feel, with lingering maple flavor. We believe it is even richer and more complex than our Minnesota state champion syrup from 2019!  Research in the maple industry has compared the flavor of maple syrup in relation to the sugar concentration (Brix). While 66.0˚ Brix is the lower limit of legal density syrup, we find the flavor and mouth feel much better at 67˚ Brix. We aim for this density and have been quite pleased with the results.

The coming week forecast predicts highs in the 40's and lows in the 20's - ideal for a banner week!

 Stay tuned!

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2020 Season - Maple Syrup Preparations Underway

by Don 2/17/2020 12:39:00 PM

     Although there hasn't been communication in the preceding months, that doesn't mean the principals at Somerskogen have been idle!

     The replacement of 1/2 of the sugarbush tubing in 2019 resulted in a dramatic rise in average sap production per tap, so we decided to complete the remainding sugarbush this year. The new layout is more efficient with shorter lines to each tap, spin-seal leak free connections and larger diameter mainlines.  These changes translate into larger yields per tap, and less possibility of vacuum leaks during the season.

    The last several years we've experienced very wet weather and that has had a negative impact in portions of the sugarbush. Sugar maples prefer well drained soil, and with all the snow/rains the last few years, the soggy soil caused an acceleration of maple die back. We added drainage swales to mitigate this issue and but also chopped down a significant number of maples that died in the wet forest. 

     Research has shown early tapping in a high vacuum system such as ours, has no negative impact, so we completed 1200+ taps this past weekend.

    There remains considerable more work before the season's first sap is converted to the delectable treat that is Somerskogen Syrup, but we are developing the annual anticipation and excitement with this first post of the season!

    More to come!