Closing for Now

Ottawa Valley maple syrup

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Due to concern regarding the coronavirus we are closing our sugar camp, store, and buildings to visitors until further notice.

We are enjoying an outstanding production season and we hope you will place orders with us through email at info@fortunefarms.ca.

We will hold your order for you and make arrangements for pick up or delivery as circumstances permit.

While this is disappointing as we enjoy seeing and sharing our farm with visitors each year, our health officials and political leaders are imploring all of us to avoid social contact and stay home.

We will continue to report on the syrup season as usual on this blog.

A Pause in the Action

A bright brisk morning but warming up quickly with above freezing temperatures this afternoon. However it is unlikely that there will be any fresh sap today. It is a good day to be outside and take a walk through the sugar bush. The trails are hard packed and frozen so it is easy walking.

Our camp is open today from 10 to 4 for syrup pick up. Please maintain social distance if there are other people at the camp.

Open Tomorrow

Finally a warm springlike day but back to winter tonight. Great sap weather but we would appreciate a sustained warm spell to get rid  of some of the snow.

We are open tomorrow from 10 t0 4  for syrup pickup outside the camp. If other people are around please wait in turn and maintain social distance,

 

The Hawks Return

Each spring as long as we can remember a pair of red shouldered hawks has nested in our sugar bush. Each year they return in March usually around the 22nd. They were heard calling with their distlnfive shriek, something like a blue jay, on Tuesday this week. So they are back again but earlier than usual. One year we saw them doing their courtship flight and we usually find their nest high in a maple tree decorated with a bit of greenery. They prefer an old growth hardwood forest so a sugar bush is an ideal nesting location. They will be here until late fall and hopefully will have a successful nesting season.

The sap ran again today and as there was no sun and it was on the cool side the sap was crystal clear.  Once agin we made Golden syrup. We may make Dark or Very dark syrup after the forecast warm weather on Friday but more likely later next week.

The Sap Keeps On Running

 

Due to the warm days and cool nights  the sap is continuing to flow. The snow in the sugar bush is  melting very slowly which will prolong the season. We are now making dark  amber syrup with a good rich flavour.. There is  warmer weather in the forecast for Friday so we may make some dark syrup..

We are open for order pickup at the camp. We are following the guidelines for grocery stores as we consider maple syrup a necessary food staple. We may close the sales room and deliver syrup orders outside the building. That way we can maintain reasonable social distance.The trails are open for walking but we are curtailing our show and tell activities.

So far the virus has as yet not been detected in many people in the Ottawa area.So it’s a good idea to pick your syrup if you can before things get worse. We are open daily 10 to 5.

Access to The Camp-Part Two

Earlier today I posted our intent to decide on access to the camp on a day to day basis. We do plan to be open tomorrow March 16 as posted. However, we cannot fill back orders for Dark or Very Dark syrup as we have yet to make any this season. We do have Golden, Light Amber and Dark Amber. Sorry for the error.  Please call the camp at 613 256 5216 if you wish to confirm your order status or to change your order.

Access To the Camp

We are  deciding on our access to the camp and farm on a day by day basis, We will be open on Monday March 16 from 10 to 5  for syrup pick up. .We much prefer that customers only use credit or debit cards for payment. We are not open for tours but our trails will be open for a walk around. We have enough syrup on hand to fill back orders or you can call the camp at 613 256 5216 to confirm your order. Visitors will be expected to maintain social distance as recommended by the health authorities.

We have caught up on our sap and since the temperature will be below zero tomorrow we will not be operating. We expext the next run of sap on Tuesday.

Strong Winds Cause Some Pipeline Damage

As we anticipated the strong winds yesterday toppled a small dead tree and blew down some branches. One break in the tubing close to the pump station dropped the vacuum by 2 inches. We still have part of the sugar bush to check and expect some more damage as the vacuum is lower than normal. Tomorrow  the temperature may not get above zero so maintenance will have to wait until Monday. All our set ups have sap left over from today so we will be boiling tomorrow as  usual.

Cool weather but lots of sunshine in the forecast so a good day to walk our trails and warm up around the boiling kettles or fire pit.

Shaping Up As Another Good Year for Syrup Production

With a short break from 1 am to 4 am last night the sap continued to run. Our production is about 50% of an average year and the weather continues to look favourable.

The strong winds today may have caused some tree limbs to fall and damage our pipe line and tubing system..The system is under vacuum to stimulate sap flow and we try to operate at 25 inches of mercury..Perfect vacuum is 29.92 inches of mercury so our system is very leak tight. Each inch of vacuum induces about 1% more sap flow so it pays to keep the vacuum as high as possible.A broken tube  causes a leak and a  drop in vacuum by about 1 inch of mercury. A broken pipe will drop the vacuum by about 5 inches of mercury. We have about 30 miles of tubing and 10 miles of piping so it’s a major challenge to keep everything tight and requires daily patrols.Pipelines and tubing systems are much less labour intensive than traditional bucket systems and help to keep the price of syrup affordable. To the casual observer they look quite simple.But they are expensive to set up and require regular maintenance and cleaning. I’ll report on the repairs we have to make afterr this wind storm.

Saturday looks very promising with sunshine and seasonal weather.  Sunday will be a bit cooler but still bright sunshine. It’a a good time to visit a sugar bush before the Covid-19 virus is more prevalent.

The Kettle Boys, the Shanty Man and our main evporator will be in operation tomorrow. We are open from 10 t0 5 pm

A Nice Sap Run

The warm weather and bright sunshine stimulated a good sap run on Sunday, Sunday night and today. However, sap flow has now dropped off and we need a good frost to recharge the trees. Tonight  there will be a super full moon meaning the moon is closer to the earth than usual and maybe this will bring a change in the weather. I always seem to be talking about the weather but our production is dependent on the right weather conditions so that syrup makers sort of live from forecast to forecast.

We are still making Golden and Light Amber syrup. We think the next cycle will bring the darker syrups.Quality so far is excellent with good fresh syrup flavour.

We are now open daily from 10 to 5.