No sap today so we had a chance to catch up and have a bit of a rest as it has been a busy week.
The sap sugar content in the sap has steadily decreased this week from 2.8% on Monday to 1.7% yesterday. This means a lot more processing as it takes 50 litres of sap for a litre of syrup at this level of sweetness. The nitre that precipitates out of the syrup, which we remove by filtering, has also changed from a very fine clay coloured powder to the more traditional yellow crystal which is commonly called sugar sand. As a result the early syrup which is usually golden in colour is as a light amber. The flavour is good which is what really matters but we need some golden syrup for those that prefer the very delicate flavour of this syrup and also for maple butter and candy. We hope that as the roots of the trees thaw out we will once again get sweeter sap and a chance to make some golden syrup.
The first few days of production each year are often challenging. This year the pipeline system had fewer leaks that usual due to a lot of preseason maintenance. However, we had some pump problems. One pump turned out to be too small to keep up with the sap flow and we replaced it with our larger spare pump. Another pump ran dry damaging the seal so it had to be replaced. Fortunately we found a new pump at one of the dealers and by rearranging pumps we were once again back in operation at all the pumping stations. Replacing pumps at the remote pumping stations requires a lot of steps and time. The reverse osmosis system and the evaporator are both working well.
The Kettle Boys set up today and will be operating this weekend. The Shanty Men have already made some syrup and will also be in operation. We have amber syrup for sale along with maple butter, maple sugar, maple mustard, maple vinegar and on Sunday maple fudge. There will be taffy on the snow and the usual opportunity to visit all the locations and the trails.
Our open hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and we look forward to greeting all visitors once again.