Spring is Here

Spring is here and the sap season is well underway.  In fact we may be over half way through it.  Looking ahead to the forecast, it appears that we have a very good week ahead with temps below freezing and highs in the 40’s.  I see possibly 2 more good sap runs, one this Sunday and Monday and another at the end of the week.  After March 29  and 30th it becomes less of a possibility as there are no freezing nights in the forecast beyond April 1st.  So with that be ready to have a good week and remember to keep checking those buckets.  Mother nature likes to mess with the maple experts and give us a late night sap run or one during a snow event.



Happy St Patricks Day

On an average year,  by St. Patricks Day we would be putting in the last of our taps.   This year our taps have been in since March 7, and we have boiled sap 4 times and made 320 gallons of syrup from 2500 taps.  This early season has been quite fruitful and looks to continue to the beginning of April.  Sugar concentrations have dropped a little bit from an average of 3.8 to 3.3. With the snow forecast on Thursday and today’s forecast of sunny and mid 40s, I expect another good sap run in the next day or two.  Filtering of finished syrup has been smooth this year, not much niter sand and the syrup has been light in color, probably due to the colder temps.

I have heard reports that the major retail outlets of basic maple supplies are running short, filters, taps, hydrometers and bottles. I do carry a full stock of those items.  It is best to call ahead to ensure that I am at the sugar shack.  I typically at the store in the afternoons and evenings.  Mornings, however,  I may be collecting sap.  If I am boiling you can get supplies till at least 9 pm.



All dressed up and no place to go!!

Well we expected to collect sap this morning and the temperature changed our plans.  21 degrees in the St. Croix Valley and the sap is frozen solid.  Looks like it will stay cold and cloudy the rest of the day, so hopefully tomorrow.  This brings us to the topic of ice in the buckets.  Do we save it or toss it.   If there is ice floating in a chunk on top of the liquid sap, toss the ice block and save the sap.  The sugar will “fractionate” to the liquid phase and the ice is basically sugar free.   I did not believe this at first years ago until I actually saved all the ice, melted it in my shop and then measured the liquid with a lab grade refractometer.  There was little to no sugar in that melted ice so give the ice a toss.

Weather still looks promising for this Sunday with a warm up to the high thirties and and low forties so keep watching the buckets for sap.  We have had late starting runs this past couple of days because of the colder mornings so its possible we will get a sap run today starting late. With a high of 33 and clouds, its not too likely, but mother nature likes to mess with experienced syrup makers.

Have a great weekend,