The weather, while not ideal for sap production, is favourable and the sap keeps flowing. It is turning our to be a bumper crop but there is some uncertainty in the industry about the market. We continue to stockpile in the hope that Coved-19 will run its course and things will get back to normal.So far the syrup has all been of the lighter grades with very good flavour. Some sunshine and warmer weather should bring on darker syrup.
The pick up of syrup outside the camp is working well and safe distancing can be maintained. If you are planning to do this call ahead to 613 256 5216 so your oder will be ready.
One of our clients called my attention to an interesting article in the North Grenville Times about the earliest recorded information about maple syrup. Evidently there are records of the native people offering early explorers “a sweet and very pleasant liquor”. There is no mention of maple sugar as experiments have shown that it would have been almost impossible to raise the boiling sap to sugar temperatures in birch bark or clay vessels. It must have been a spring drink as there would have been no way to store the syrup without it going moldy. Later on when iron pots came into use there are reports of the production of large quantities of maple sugar, which can be stored. That still leaves the question in my mind as to how the natives cut enough wood to make all this sugar. Anyone who has made even a small quantity of maple syrup or sugar on an open kettle cam attest to the amount of wood required.
We plan to be open for syrup pick up on March 17. We want to limit the number of people in the camp at one time some may ask you to wait outside if we are busy. We want to follow the guidelines on social distance as best we can and we want to stay open as long as it is permitted;
The sap began to run late this afternoon but has now slowed down. A warm front is moving in so the sap should be running again by midnight.That means we will be boiling tomorrow.
A walk on the trails in the fresh air is a good way to avoid the virus.
The Kettle Boys have closed for the season and the Shanty Men are on open a day to day basis. Our open hours are 10 t0 5 daily until further notice.
It was nice to have a break on Wednesday with no sap due to the cold weather. It gave us a chance to empty our sap holding tanks and evaporator, do a bit of cleaning and make some minor repairs. The sap started running again today about noon and will probably run all night as there is no frost in the forecast. The syrup this week has been mostly Dark Amber corresponding to the old grade of Medium. So we now have Golden, Light Amber, Dark Amber as well as a small quantity of Dark from last year’s production available for sale.Tomorrow we will be setting aside syrup to fill back orders and for Golden and Amber syrup.
This weekend the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men will be operating and welcoming visitors with stories and toys and taste of fresh syrup. We will be taking special precautions because of the virus and since it is an open area environment the risk of infection is minimal.
As usual we are open from 10 t0 5 daily.
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.
Every year we are surprised when the sap runs. Today, in spite of snow flurries and cool weather, the sap is running well. We are not complaining just surprised.
Yesterday I posted that we were making Golden and Light syrup. I should have said Light Amber. Even syrup makers stumble a bit between the old and new grading systems. Light Amber is more or less equivalent to the old classification of Light. Dark Amber is equivalent to Medium on the old system. We sort out Amber syrup into these two categories as we find the Amber classification covers too wide a spectrum.
Spring is definitely in the air. The birds seem to be more active at the feeder and a chickadee was singing its spring song, fee-bee,for the first time today. The maple trees seem very eager to produce sap so they too are getting ready for a new growing season.
We will be open tomorrow and Sunday at 10 am to provide a taste of fresh made maple syrup.
We collected enough sap from Tuesday morning to noon today to process our first small batch of syrup. The sap had a sugar content of 2% which is good for early season sap in our sugar bush. There were the usual problems with starting up including one pump that did not work but overall a successful start. Frost is in the forecast tonight and above freezing tomorrow so there may be more sap. The weather always likes to tease us a bit at this time of year with fits and starts before we have a sustained sap run.
Some of the sap will have come from our new plantation and marks another milestone for our farm.
We have enjoyed two very pleasant spring days. The sap continued to run but at a much reduced rate. With no frost at night and rain in the forecast we think the season will be over this week.The syrup has been Dark but still good flavour with no buddy taste. The season is shaping up as one of our best.
We will be open all weekend as usual.
Once again I am catching up on the blog after a busy weekend. The sap continued to run slowly but steadily all weekend and it ran again last night. The atmospheric pressure dropped to a very low level during the rain storm last night and is continuing to stay low today. The low pressure along with our vacuum system is stimulating the sap flow. We are very pleased to obtain this sap as we are now making Very Dark syrup with the strong flavour preferred by some people and which is also good for cooking.
We think the season is winding down due to the warm weather. But this year it is so unpredictable we may get another run of sap after a cool night or if the atmospheric pressure stays at a low level.In any case the Kettle Boys and Shanty Men are finished for this season. The trails are almost clear of snow except in our big gully which is still snowy and partly flooded. We expect this trail to be clear by the weekend.
With the production of Very Dark syrup yesterday, we now have all the grades of syrup available and we are busy putting all our orders together.If you are wondering about your order phone or email for an update. We are also phoning or emailing as we have time. Best for pickup midweek if that is convenient for you. As usual we are open 10 to 5.
Finally, I am getting a chance to catch up on the blog. The sap has run continuously since Thursday morning and is still running this evening but at a reduced flow rate. Our storage tanks were full this morning with about 6000 gallons of sap. It also ran very hard on Wednesday so we have had long hours of boiling this week. There is still sap in our tanks so we will be boiling again tomorrow. With the warm weather and no significant frost in the forecast the sap may stop flowing and the season could be winding down. The snow in the sugar bush has disappeared on the some hillsides but is still about a foot deep in most areas. The trees will not begin to bud until the snow is gone and the roots warm up. When the tree comes to life again, the sap, if any, that runs no longer makes good syrup. It has what we call a buddy taste which is unpleasant.
We have been restocking our shelves this week with maple products ready for the weekend. We do not have Very Dark syrup but we have all the other grades available. Maple tarts and maple fudge are favourites and will be available.
The Kettle Boys and Shanty Men started operating today and will be ready to go again in the morning. The forecast is for warm sunny weather so it should be an enjoyable weekend at the sugar bush. We will be open as usual from 10 to 5.
Two beautiful bright days of sunshine helps to revive one’s spirits after such a long winter. A bit cool for good sap weather but enough ran on Monday to boil. Not so much today but we Looking forward to the remainder of the week with warmer weather.
No new birds to report but the crows are very active and are probably staking out their nesting sites. The snow is slowly sinking and compacting but there is still very about two feet in the sugar bush. The jet stream still has not moved north but some warm air has managed to come our way from western Canada.
There are not as many visitors midweek and we are not so busy so it’s a good time to come for a walk around and visit with the staff. Two of our granddaughters, Melanie and Sarah, are here this week along with great grandson Gus. We expect granddaughter Laura and great grandson Harvey here this weekend. It’s great to have so many family here at this time of year.
A good supply of rich flavour light amber and darker amber syrup is available along with other maple products.
We are open 10 t0 5 daily.