Early Sap Runs Continue

by Don 2/22/2024 2:58:00 PM

We continue to experience record warmth for February and meteorologists predict the warmest February since the start of record keeping. The days have included considerable sunshine and warmups in the 40s occur before noon! We find the sap flowing beginning about 10 am and continuing until after sunset.

 We try to get our vacuum system reaching 25 inches but have thus far been unsuccessful. We have gotten it to 20 , however we know that every 5 inches of vacuum pressure,increases yield by 25% over gravity systems. Therefore, we achieve a 100% increase at 20 inches vacuum but still are giving up another  25%. We occasionally find a leaking line due to squirrel bites or a loose spile. Every repair helps but they seem to continue!

 We have fired up the evaporator 4 times so far , and nearly 100 gallons of delectable syrup has been made. And this is still before we historically even see the sap run!

We have collected 1500 gallons of sap in the last 24 hrs and are concentrating it through our RO. Our sap is running 2.2 % sugar ( rather typical for our sugarbush). The RO is concentrating this to 10-11% which means we only need about 8.5 gallons of this concentrated sap to make a gallon of finished syrup. If we didn’t use the RO, it would take about 40 gallons of sap! A great savings of time and energy consumption!

Check back in a few days to see how we did!



Record Warmth brings earliest Msple Syrup on our 31 years

by Don 2/8/2024 5:46:00 PM

Temperatures for the last week have remained in the 40s and 50s, setting records in the Minneapolis region. As we added taps and repaired lines each day, we painfully watched the sap pour on the ground at the lower collection tank, until we could install our mechanical releaser and attached vacuum pump. We consistently saw 2-3 drops per second from the majority of taps, not just those on the warm, south side of the tree, which would have been consistent for the early season. 

Our sugar concentration in the sap was 1.8% to 2.1%, quite typical for our sugarbush . We collected sap for 3 days, until we had 2200 gallons . By then, the reverse osmosis machine was installed which removed 75% of the water from the sap, thereby saving 75% of the energy and time to boil the sap into syrup. We cleaned our evaporator one final time by filling it with water and brought it to a roring boil.

We made our first batch of syrup ,a light grade color on February 7th, the earliest syrup has been made  in 31 years.!  The previous years were 2002 and 201- the third week in February!

Many surprises already, and the "regular" syrup season hasn't even started!!



by Don 1/28/2024 12:04:00 PM

In 31 seasons of our Maple syrup journey we have never tapped trees in January or seen a week of 40 degrees already. We started tapping trees yesterday because it was so pleasant outside. Of the 300 taps placed so far, approximately 1/4 would drip sap! The unusually warm weather is predicted to last another week so we plan on having our 1000 taps in by weeks end.

We don’t anticipate the actual season to begin yet, but suspect it will be earlier than our previous earliest start of February 18th which occurred in 2002.

We also installed steel platforms at our outside tanks to provide a stable work platform instead of climbing ladders to clean or service tanks. Painting the new structures will be a summer project.

Check back next week for updates or follow our Instagram page      somerskogen_sugarbush