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,


Finished boiling second sap run of the Season

If the first two runs are any indication of the season, Its going to be a great one.  we collected 2800 gallons from each of the first two sap runs.  Sugar has been averaging 3.5 percent with the range of 2.8 to 4.2.  Temperatures look great with highs in the 40s and lows in the mid twenties through March.  There is no frost in the ground now especially after the rain today, so almost all trees, even the big old growth maples are running strong.   Cold again tonight and clear so its possible to get our third run tomorrow into Saturday.  I will be exhausted by the end of the season but this is my annual weight loss program.

Again thank-you for your patience when coming for supplies, I most likely will be cooking when you come so it gets a little hectic.. I do have free maple aromas in the sugar shack and “court yard”.   Enjoy and and the season has just begun.