Farm News March 2013

All Fancy grade so far...

After a very early and warm maple sugaring season last year, we are off to a more traditional season in 2013. We are fast approaching last year's production numbers with plenty of season left, so it is looking like a great year for maple syrup! This year's production to date:

Date
Sap Syrup
Feb. 26
 1700 0
Feb. 27
  750 40
Feb. 28
 1650 25
Mar. 2
 1500 40
Mar. 6
 1800 40
Mar. 7
 4100 80
Mar. 8
 2050 40
Mar. 9
 3950 80
Mar. 10
 3260 58
Total
 20,760 
 403 (gallons)

Most days this season have been just warm enough for sap flow, which means the sap stays cool in the time it takes us to gather it and boil it. The sap also has been relatively sweet at about 2.2 % sugar. These are the conditions for producing the lightest maple syrup, or what's called Fancy grade.

Will there be dark syrup or Grade B this year?

There is still plenty of time in the maple sugaring season to make the darker grades. In fact, in the time it has taken to write this "farm news" we've gone from producing Fancy to the darker grades. Our maple sugarbush (i.e. maple forest) typically produces a lot of great flavored darker maple syrup, so we expect to have plenty of Dark Amber and Grade B this year.

Maple Open House Weekend Across Vermont

Old-time boiling at Maple Open House Weekend.

On March 23-24 many sugarhouses open their doors to visitors as part of the state-wide Open House Weekend. Visit our farm for a variety of activities: pancake breakfast, boiling demonstration, wooded maple trail, sugarbush maze, etc. Go to our Events page for more information.

Scenes From Around The Farm

Putting a sap bucket lid on.

Hale Hescock slides a cover on the bucket to keep out the rain and snow.

 

A full maple sap bucket.

24 hours later, one drip at a time, the bucket is full of sap! Of course, the sap is only sligthly sweet at this stage, so it tastes almost like water.

 

Loading wood into the evaporator.

Tim Hescock loads a piece of firewood into the wood-fired arch used to boil the sap down into maple syrup.

 

Fire in evaporator.

A roaring hot fire! Looking into the bottom of the evaporator.

 

Steaming maple syrup pan.

Sweet smelling steam rolls from the top of the syrup pan as the water is evaporated off.

Maple syrup samles from this year.

Each day a production sample of maple syrup is taken and placed in our sugarhouse window. Color and corresponding grade can change each day, but this year we've only been making fancy at this point in the season. For constrast, the sample to the far right is a Grade B sample from last year.

What About Changes to Vermont's Maple Syrup Grades?

The changes that were talked about last year are still progressing in Vermont's legislature. To put the U.S. states and Canada all on the same grading system, Vermont will decide soon whether to join in. It is likely we will, which means: Vermont Fancy will be called Golden Delicate taste, Medium Amber will be called Amber Rich taste, Dark Amber will be called Dark Robust taste, and Grade B will be changed to Extra Dark Strong taste. The changes could take effect in January 2014. We'll keep you posted...!

Listen to a recent discussion about the grade changes on Vermont Public Radio.