3/21-4/1

DSC_0358

The season is reaching the end for producers in warmer areas and still going strong for those who make syrup in colder climates.  Sap sugar concentration is dropping, which follows the season-long pattern of starting low, raising to a high point and then declining towards the end.  So far there have been no syrup quality issues reported.  Sap quality will decline in relation to contamination from bacteria, yeast and mold.  These microorganisms multiply exponentially with increasing holding time and air temperature.  Changes in sap quality can happen rapidly.  It’s also important to recognize that sap can degrade after filtering so fast processing and keeping sap/concentrate cool is essential for maintaining syrup quality.

bacteria graph

yeast and mold graph
Figures 5 and Figure 6 from “Effects of various filters on sap quality and characteristics” by Lachance et al. 2008, Maple Syrup Digest, pp 23-43.  Full article can be found by searching for “sap filters” at http://www.mapleresearch.org

In Bennington County, a sugar maker reports average sap flow.  Sap sweetness was 1.25% or less during this time.  Compared to the long term average at this location this season sap sweetness is below average.  Syrup produced during this period was Dark/Robust with no off-flavors.  This operation has reached 100% of the anticipated crop for the year.  This producer adds:

“Season just about done in southwestern Vermont. Our sap to syrup ratio this year was 63:1; last year it was 51:1. But this season has been longer, and thus we were able to compensate for the low sugar with more sap.”

A producer in Addison County reports sap flowing very well and sap sweetness averaging 1.5% during that time.  Season-long sap sweetness has been average compared to long-term averages at this location.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors during this period.  Total production has reached 90% of the anticipated total.

In Windsor County a sugar maker reports average rates of sap flow.  Sap sweetness has averaged 1.5% over this time.  This is below the long term average for this location.  Syrup produced was Dark/Robust with no off-flavors.  Total production at this location has reached 100% of the anticipated crop.  This producer adds:

“Bumper crop year”

In Chittenden County a producer reports average rates of sap flow and sap sweetness at 2%.  This producer repots sap sweetness as being average this season compared to their long-term average.  Syrup produced during this period has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors reported.  Total production has reached 85% of the expected crop.  This producer adds the following detail:

“Season is going well. Production should end up somewhat above average. Sap sugar perhaps just slightly below average. Hopefully we’ll get another 1-2 weeks.” 

A second Chittenden County sugar maker reports that sap was running very well over the same period.  Sap sweetness averaged 1.5% during this time.  Season long sap sweetness was reported as being average.  Syrup produced is now Dark/Robust at this location with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 79% of the expected crop.

In Lamoille County an operation reports average sap flow rates over the past week plus.  Sap sweetness is reported to be significantly below average at this location.  Syrup produced during this time has been Dark/Robust with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 100% of the anticipated crop at this location.  This producer adds the following detail to summarize:

“80% of my crop is Amber, 20% Dark. Last 3 days we boiled were all Dark, but nice flavor. March 26 – 28 good run, 26th was Excellent. 26th & 27th actually got up to 1.8 & 2.0% sap, but then dropped back to 1.6 on the 28th. Lowest sap sugar I’ve seen here, maybe ever. No complaints on yield, though, very happy with production. Looking for a couple days this next week, but no good weather is forecast after mid-week. could be close to the end.”  

A second Lamoille County sugar maker reports average rates of sap flow over the last week and a half.  Sap sweetness was 2% over this period.  Season long sap sweetness has been average at this location.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 75% at this location.  This producer adds:

“We have had a very good year so far. We are about 75% of a crop so far. At this time last year we were only about 25% of a crop. Syrup has been half Amber and half Golden. Lots of niter making cleanups very difficult but all in all it has been a very good year.”

 

A sugar maker in Orleans County saw sap flowing very well over the past week, plus.  Compared to long term averages, the sap sweetness at this location has been average.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 60% of the anticipated total.  This producer adds:

“Steady sap runs since last Wednesday (3/25)”  

In Essex County, a sugar maker reports sap running very well.  Overall, the season sap sweetness has been above the long term average at this location.  The syrup produced has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 64% of the anticipated total.  This producer adds:

“The flavor this year has been very good.”

A producer in an area SW of Montreal reports sap running very well.  Sap sweetness was 1.5% during this time.  So far this season sap sweetness has been average compared to long term averages for this operation.  Syrup production was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 75% of the anticipated total.  This sugar maker adds the following comment about how the season is going:

“Stressful”  

A second Quebec sugar maker in an area near Quebec City reports average sap flow rates recently.  Sap sweetness was 2.5% or higher during this time.  So far this season sap sweetness has been above the long term average at this location.  Syrup grade has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 18% of the anticipated total.  This producer adds the following about the season so far:

“Slow start”

3/16-3/20

 

Annotation 2020-03-23 132012
Observed 2020 high and low (degrees F) March temperatures (and long term average high and low) in Burlington, Vermont.

The 2020 sugaring season has proven to be warmer than the recent past.  Sap flow has continued across Vermont despite unprecedented changes in our communities.  Most areas are nearing the halfway point of the season with some in the colder areas closer to a quarter to a third of the way to the expected total crop.  So far, no issues with off-flavored syrup have been reported.

A Bennington County sugar maker reports sap running very well over the past week and sap sweetness averaging 1.5%.  Syrup grade made at this location was Very Dark/Strong during this time.  Total production has reached 50% of the anticipated crop.  This producer adds the following:

“Made a lot of Very Dark/Strong syrup but it didn’t have a strong or bitter taste.”

In Rutland County, a maple producer saw sap running very well over the past week and sap sweetness averaging 2%.  Syrup grade was Dark/Robust with no off-flavors.  This operation has reached 65% of the anticipated crop.  They also add the following:

“Niter has increased. Both the baked on kind and the sand dunes in the draw off box kind. Every boil we get almost back to Amber by the time we shut down. It is warm temps that are affecting the classification this year.”

One Addison County producer reports sap running very well over the past week and sap sweetness averaging about 1.5%.  Syrup produced at this location was Golden/Delicate with no off-flavors.  This operation has reached 51% of the expected crop.

A second Addison County operation reports sap flowing very well over the past week.  Sap sweetness averaged 2% over that time.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors during that time.  Total production has reached 33% of the expected crop.

A third Addison County sugar maker reports sap running very well.  Sap sweetness was 1.5% over that time.  Syrup grade was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 55% of the expected crop.

In Windsor County a sugar maker reports sap flowing very well over the last week.  Sap sweetness averaged 1.5% and syrup produced with that sap was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production reached 80% at this location.

In Chittenden County, a sugar maker reports average sap flow over the past week and sap sweetness at 2% during that time.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 60% of the anticipated crop.

A second Chittenden County producer reports sap running very well over the past week and sap sweetness at 2% during that time.  Syrup made with that sap has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 47% of the expected crop.

 

A Franklin County operation reports average rates of sap flow over the last week and sap sweetness at 2%.  Total production has reached 31% at this location and no off-flavors have been detected.

In Lamoille County a producer in a cold area reports sap flowing very well over the past week and sap sweetness averaging 1.5%.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 36% of the expected crop.  This sugar maker adds that there was “lots of sugar sand”.

“Friday’s March 13 sugar content dropped off significantly 1.2%. Thursday and Friday’s great sap run. Due to the coronavirus we have let our help go. We will try to run our operation with just the two of us, from past experience we will definitely have a smaller crop with less help.”

A second Lamoille County producer (in a relatively warm location) reports sap running “very well” and sap sweetness averaged 1.5%.  Syrup made during this time was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production reached 63% of the anticipated crop.  This producer adds the following detail:

“This past week was exceptional. Heavy runs 3 days straight. Actually began Tuesday around 2:00pm and ran through the night and all day Wednesday. Amber grade, though it dropped barely into Dark on the 13th, but bounced right back on the 14th. The 12th and 13th were two of the heaviest production days I’ve seen…ever. The sap lingers around 1.5 – 1.6% sugar. Flavor – Excellent”

A third Lamoille County operation reports sap running very well and averaging 2.25% sweetness.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 33%.  This sugar maker adds:

“No huge runs last week but still not a bad week considering we didn’t even boil for the first time until 16 March last year and we’ve already boiled nine times this year. We are cautiously optimistic.”

In Orleans County a producer saw average rates of sap flow with an average sweetness of 2%.  Syrup produced has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 25% of the anticipated crop.

“Weather seemed too cold and windy for sap to run like it did at the end of the week. Syrup has excellent flavor so far.”

 

3/6-3/12

March 12 GGD
Warm weather has increased the accumulated growing degree days (GDD) in southern Vermont counties and south.  A base value of 32F is used since plants growing in northerly latitudes begin the complex and measured exit from dormancy starting at temperatures above freezing.  The higher the GDD the closer an area is to spring bud break. 

The sap flow has ramped up across the state over the past week with producers in warmer locations report reaching 30-50% of the expected crop whereas in the colder locations around Vermont the numbers are in the single digits.  The forecast looks good for much of the state over the next week.  Areas to the south of Vermont have reported good yields for producers who were tapped and ready when the ideal sugaring weather arrived.

A producer in Massachusetts not far from the border with Vermont reports:

“For those down here who tapped mid-January, production has been very good.  Some early runs gave people a chance to get started and ready to roll once things opened up..  That came about 10 days ago and we’ve had about perfect sap weather since then with lots and lots of light syrup being made from crystal clear and very cold sap.  We had a few 48+ hour runs where it never got over mid-30’s.  Today it ran good again but we don’t see any freeze coming for a week, so after that —who knows.  The warm days recently got the bacteria going and the sap is no longer crystal clear, but not too bad either.  As usual, ask me in May and I’ll know a lot more!  If we can get some cold weather and maybe some snow (almost 80% bare ground here) I think the production season will last longer, but otherwise I expect it will be all over before the end of March.”

A Bennington County sugar maker sap running very well over the past week.  Syrup produced has transitioned to Dark/Robust during that time with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 35% of the expected crop.  This producer adds:

“Biggest runs have been at night.”

A Rutland County sugar maker reports sap running very well over the past week, with sap sweetness averaging 2%.  Syrup produced with this sap has been graded as Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 50% of the anticipated crop as of 3/10.  This producer adds the following detail:

“We have our vacuum really up this year and are seeing the advantages of that. It doesn’t seem to matter that it doesn’t freeze a lot at night or gets really warm during the day. It still keeps flowing. Have boiled 6 times and made about half our crop. Brought in over 6,000 gals of sap in less than 24 hours on 3,000 taps (our tap number is down this year). At one point we were bringing in over 300 gals and hour. Quite a rush! Niter has been heavy and really sticks down making clean up long and tedious.”

A Windsor County sugar maker reports sap flowing very well over the past week and sap sweetness at 2%.  Syrup produced has been Golden/Delicate with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 50% of the expected crop.  This producer added:

“excellent season -very fast run this week the 8th, 9th and 10th of March.”

An Addison County producer reports sap flowing very well over the last week and sap sweetness averaging 1.5%.  Syrup produced has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  This operation has reached approximately 12% of the anticipated crop.

A second Addison County operation reports sap running very well over the past week and sap sweetness at 1.5%.  Syrup produced was Golden/Delicate at this location and total yield has reached 26% of the expected crop.

A third Addison County producer reports average rates of sap flow over the past week and sap sweetness at 2.0%.  Syrup produced has been Amber/Rich and total production is reported to have reached 15% of the expected crop.

A Chittenden County operation reports average rates of sap flow and sap sweetness at 2% sugar.  Syrup produced during this time has been Golden/Delicate with no off-flavors and total yield has reached 25% of an expected crop.

A second Chittenden County operation reported getting the last taps in on 3/7.  The sap flow over the last week has been very good at this location and sap sweetness has averaged 2.25%.  Syrup made with this sap was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 6% of a full crop.

csRDS-percent-of-expected-maple-syrup-crop-by-select-vermont-counties-

A third location in Chittenden County reports very good rates of sap flow and syrup produced during this time as Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 30% of the expected crop which equates to a “good start” according to this producer.

In Lamoille County a sugar maker reports average rates of sap flow over the past week.  Sap sweetness was averaging 2.25%.  Syrup made during this time was Golden/Delicate.  Total production is at 25% of the total expected crop.  This producer also added:

“Sap hasn’t flowed all that hard but has been sweet. Just started to get niter. Best early season syrup I remember making.”

A sugarmaker in Orleans County reports finishing tapping on 3/8.  Sap flow was average over the past week and sap sweetness was 2%.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  The operation has reached 2% of the expected crop and this producer offers that it’s “nice to have sap running in March.”

In Essex County a producer reports sap running very well over the past week and sap sweetness at 2%.  Syrup produced over the last week was Dark/Robust with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 7% of the anticipated crop.  This sugar maker added the following:

“Last year I didn’t make syrup until Late March. This year we started early march.”

In an area southwest of Montreal, a sugar maker reports average rates of sap flow over the past week and sap sweetness at 2% sugar.  Syrup produced during this time has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production at this location has reached 15% of the anticipated crop.

IMG_9518
Somewhere during each sugaring season everything starts take on an amber glow however this picture was made by pointing the camera through a bottle of pure maple syrup. 

2/22-3/5

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Raw sap (left) and high brix  RO concentrate (right) at the Sumner Hill Williams Sugarhouse (University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center).  The raw sap on 3/5 tested 2.1% sugar and the concentrate 34% sugar.

Sugar makers are reporting sap flowed during the last week in most areas.  Some producers made syrup while others (in colder areas mainly) collected just enough sap to sweeten the pans.  Smaller operations are just getting started with tapping while others have been tapped for weeks if not months.  The forecast for the week ahead looks promising.  Here is how the past week played out for those contributing information:

A Bennington County sugar maker reports finishing tapping on 2/29.  Sap flow “weakly 2/23-2/25 and over the past week has been average.  Sap sweetness has been averaging 1.5%.

In Rutland County, a producer reports finishing up tapping on 2/24.  Sap flow over the past week has been average and sap sweetness at 2%.  Syrup made during this time has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production at this location has reached 3% of the anticipated crop for the year.  This producer shared the following:

“First boil was earlier than last year (March 14). Feb. 26 this year. Boiled again on the 27th and have been froze up since. Made a couple of barrels. Was starting to thaw yesterday March 1. Should run today. Have Rutland Tech students coming this morning to do maintenance, tap and check for leaks on a section near the sugarhouse we have left for them to work on. Will get into grading a bit and off flavors using the off flavor kits. Grading the syrup we made last week. Always look forward to their visit.”

In Addison County a producer who finished tapping on 1/31 reports “average” sap flow over the past week and sap sweetness around 1.5%.  This operation has collected enough sap to sweeten pans but as of 3/3 they have not made syrup.

In Chittenden County a sugar maker reports finishing tapping on 3/2.  Sap flow has been “average” at this location over the past week and sap sweetness has been around 2% during that time.  Syrup made with this sap was Dark/Robust with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 3% of the anticipated crop at this location.

In Lamoille County a producer reports started tapping on 2/16 and ending on 2/18.  Sap flow over the past week has been “Average” and the sap sweetness has been around 1.5%.  Amber/Rich syrup with good flavor “especially for the first batch was made 2/27 after sweetening the pans the day before.  Total production has reached about 7% at this location.

“Ran last week Mon – Thu….Hopeful for this coming week.”

A second Lamoille County producer (in a cold location) reports finishing tapping on 2/24.  Over the past week sap has been running “average” and sap sweetness has been 1.25% or less.  This producer hasn’t boiled as of 3/3 and adds:

“Still walking lines to check for leaks. Sap has been cloudy and still clearing out junk from the lines.”

An Orleans County producer reports having more than 50% of all trees tapped as of 2/23 and “will finish tapping this week”.  Sap flow over the past week has been average and sap sweetness has been 1.25% or less during that time.  This producer adds that there was “a bit of a run” 2/25-2/26 that allowed some local sugar makers to sweeten pans or make a “a bit of syrup”

In Quebec (SW of Montreal) a producer reports “average” rates of sap flow over the past week and sap sweetness around 1.5%.  The syrup produced during this time has been Amber/Rich with off-flavor.  No determination of the type of off-flavor was given.  Total production has reached 8% at this location and the sugar maker adds this two-word comment on how the season has gone so far:

“Hard slogging”

Spout seating
Over driving spouts while tapping can have significant impact on season long sap yield.  Research at the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center indicates that fully over driven spouts (top) could see a 40% reduction in sap yield over the entire season. 

2/8/20-2/21/20

 

2019 GDD
What a difference a year makes; accumulated Growing Degree Days as of February, 21 2019 (above) compared to the same date in 2020 (Below).  Producers in the southern states feel the change more than in northern areas.

2020 GDD clip

Almost two weeks have passed and reports of maple production have continued to trickle in.  Cold temperatures and a deepening snow pack has made for more difficult movement in some Vermont sugarbushes.  The weather starting tomorrow (2/22) and continuing next week looks to be just what’s needed to get the season going statewide.

The late winter in states south of Vermont has been warmer than normal with some locations appearing to be 2-3 weeks ahead of long-term trends.

A producer southwest of Montreal reports having 100% of their taps in by Feb 13th and as of the 21st has not collected sap.

In Bennington County a producer reports having 50% of taps done by February 12th but no sap collected as of yet.

An Addison County operation reports having all taps in by 2/18 but no sap collected as of 2/21.

A second Addison County producer reports having 50% of their taps done on 1/22 and 100% done a week later (1/31).  This operation also reports no sap collected to date.

A Windsor County maple producer reported on 2/19 that they:

“Hope to start tapping last week of February.”

In Chittenden County a producer reports finishing tapping on 1/31 and sap was flowing over the past week (2/11-2/18).  Sap sweetness was 2% and syrup grade was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.

A second Chittenden County producer reports having 50% of taps in on 2/3 and 100% of taps done on 2/8.  So far no sap has flowed at this location:  “Season hasn’t started here as yet” according to this sugar maker.

In Franklin County, a producer reports finishing tapping on 2/5 and “hoping for warmer weather”.  A second Franklin County operation reports being half done with tapping on 1/20 and 100% done on 2/12.  This producer reports reaching about 6% of the anticipated season total for syrup but no further information about sap sweetness or syrup grade was available.

In a cold section of Lamoille County a producer that reported having 50% of trees tapped on 2/5 hadn’t finished tapping as of 2/15.  This producer shared that:

“Snow has been deep and sticky making it very difficult to move.”

Missouri Silver maple flower bud
Spring is still a ways off in Vermont but a producer in Missouri posted this picture of silver maple (Acer saccharinum) flower buds on February 7th of this year.  Plants will respond to accumulated heat by earlier bud break but it takes more than a few days to make it happen.   

2020 Vermont Maple Bulletin

fig 1

Fig 2
The 2020 Vermont maple season is underway.  Producers are busy tapping, making repairs, collecting sap and even boiling the first syrup of the season.  Taking time while tapping to avoid tapping into stained wood and ensure each spout is seated correctly will help maximize season long sap yields.  (Tapped maple log display courtesy of Dave Folino)

Welcome to the 2020 Edition of the Vermont Maple Bulletin.  This project is beginning its fifth year and is intended to provide a general summary of Vermont maple syrup production.  Thank you to all the producers who contribute production data.  Given all the variables in location, production technology and processing techniques it’s impossible to perform rigorous analysis on the information but it does allow for some general statewide summaries.  If you would like to contribute reports for the 2020 season feel free to contact me to learn how:  mark.isselhardt@uvm.edu

The 2020 Vermont maple production season is underway.  Unlike the previous two seasons, the winter of 2019-20 has been relatively mild.  Those operations that choose to tap beginning after the first of the year were met with relatively low snow depths in the woods which helped speed up the process.  There were periods of warm weather that allowed for sap flow and some producers have made their first syrup of 2020.  Many other producers will wait to tap until the forecast shows ideal weather is imminent.  Early reports therefore do not represent all areas of the state and a complete picture of how the season has begun will need to wait.

Fig 3
The winter of 2020 in Vermont has been relatively mild compared to long-term averages.  What this will mean to total production at the end of the 2020 season is hard to predict.

In Bennington County a producer reports just beginning to tap.

In Addison County a producer reports having >50% of their taps in by 2/4 but no sap flow as of 2/7.

Another Addison County operation reports not having tapped at all as of 2/7.

In Chittenden County one operation reports having >50% of their taps done by 1/24.  The sap that has been collected has tested at 1.25% or less.  This operation estimates it has produced roughly 3% of its expected crop and adds:

“Early run in January helped us tighten up some woods and make some good tasting (Amber/Rich) syrup.”  

A producer in a cold area of Lamoille County reports no sap flow yet but that tapping has gone well so far.  This producer had >50% of their taps in by 2/4.

A small Lamoille County operation in a warmer area reports:

“Have not tapped, yet, but watching the long range weather forecasts. Only takes about 2 days to tap, if the weather looks promising. Will start laying out lines and equipment.”

In Franklin County a producer reports having >50% of their taps in by 1/13.  No sap flow was reported over of the last week but sap that was collected earlier was <1.25%.  Syrup made so far has been Dark/Robust with no off-flavors detected.  This producer estimates reaching ~2% of the expected season total as of 2/7.

Another Franklin County producer reports having >50% of their taps ready by 1/24 but no sap collected or syrup produced to date.

April 15th-April 23rd

DSC_3903
Spring color: Red maple (Acer rubrum) is one of the first trees to flower in spring.  The trees are considered “polygamo-dioecious”, meaning that trees can have all male, all female or a mix of maple and female flowers.  The flowers appear as red or yellow and develop before leaf out in early spring.

The 2019 Vermont maple season has wrapped up for most producers.  A few operations are continuing to make quality syrup but it appears that most (if not all) syrup making will end later this week.  Reports are generally good in terms of total production and yield.  The season got a late start for many operations and for generally cold areas, production was reported to be slightly reduced.  The usual late season off-flavors (Sour sap and Buddy) have been reported in small amounts.

In Bennington County a producer reports the last boil of the season was on 3/7.  They added the following:

“My last boil was 3/7. I made slightly more than average for the season. Sap sweetness was low. Made no Golden or VDS. Some sugar makers finished 4/12. Most I have talked with had an average or above average year.”

A New Hampshire producer just over the border from Windsor County reported ending the season on 4/15.  Sap sweetness had dropped to 1.25% or less.  Amber/Rich syrup was produced as well as light (golden) colored Processing grade syrup with “sour sap” off-flavor.  The operation reported reaching 100% of the anticipated crop for 2019.  This producer added:

“Season was mostly too cold and very late. Our grade mix was 2/3 Golden & 1/3 Amber.”

A producer from ­­­­­Windsor County reports reaching 100% of the anticipated crop and ending collection on 4/13.  They added the following:

“We ended on Saturday April 13 and had an excellent season. The last 2 drums had a buddy off flavor and so we decided then to pull our lines out of the tanks. It was still running some for a few days after even with no vacuum. We made mostly Golden and Amber.”

In Rutland County a sugar maker reports the season ended on 4/12.  The operation reached 85% of the anticipated crop before finishing.  The last syrup to be produced was “very” buddy, dark syrup.  The producer goes on to add:

“Our season ended abruptly on April 12. It went from decent very dark to awful tasting very buddy syrup within hours. We just stopped as you barely could boil it and it was impossible to filter. As stated above, we made about 85% of a crop. The syrup at the beginning of the season right straight through to the first week in April was Golden to very light colored and flavored Amber. It was changing to Dark on April 6. Still very good tasting and quite light in color. Then on April 10 it changed to Very Dark and with the next boil was just done. Heard peepers on April 11. Never had it change from good Very Dark to awful buddy syrup within hours during the same boil. The sap was still clear and looked and smelled fine but was not making good syrup. There was lots of niter throughout the season but that also disappeared at the end….It never was really dark in color this year either. Maybe due to the abrupt end of season. Sugar content stayed high throughout the season. At the very end, the sap was still 1.5. Warm temperatures were definitely the biggest factor bringing the season to an abrupt end.”

In Addison County a producer with a higher elevation sugarbush and colder than average woods reported average rates of sap flow over the last week, sap sweetness around 1.5% and the last boil coming on 4/19.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors during that time.  The producer added:

“We had our last boil on April 19. It was a good season overall. Made .32 gallons per tap. We had hoped for a better per tap yield but our sugarbush is high and we had a late start. All very good tasting syrup.”

A second Addison County sugar maker reported average rates of sap flow as of 4/19 and sap sweetness around 1.5%.  Syrup produced was Dark/Robust with no off-flavor.  This operation reached 100% of the anticipated crop.

In Chittenden County a producer reports average sap flow and sap sweetness at or below 1.25% as of 4/19.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich color with “Buddy” off-flavor.  This operation reached an estimated 96% of a full crop before ending production.  This sugar maker added:

“We are done!!”

A second Chittenden County producer reported ending the season on 4/18.  Before stopping, sap flow rates were average and sap sweetness was around 1.5%.  Amber/Rich colored syrup with slight “Sour Sap” off-flavor was produced.  This producer added:

“Finished on 4/18 with about 10% over an average crop. Some sour sap over the weekend, but flow afterward was good up until 4/18 when taps shut down due to warm weather. Sugar content remained fairly good (1.6 Brix) up to the end. Overall a late-season with high sap sugar, moderate niter, good color. Vacuum was great all season.“

1963 sap flow chart
Hand drawn graphs showing sap pressure, sap flow and tree temperature data from Proctor Maple Research Farm (now Center) on April 8th 1962 and April 9th, 1963.  The data is from a single tree (526) that had been wired with themocouple wire, pressure gauges and outfitted with sap flow measurement instruments.  Black line-Root pressure/Temperature, Green-Stem pressure/temperature (8′ above ground), Yellow-Stem pressure/temperature (18′ above ground), Brown-Soil temperature (6″ deep), Red-Air temperature, Orange (air temperature in crown).

A Lamoille County sugar maker in a cold location reported average rates of sap flow over the past week.  Sap sweetness was 2.25% during that time.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  This producer reported reaching 80% of the anticipated crop as of 4/23.  They also added the following:

“We continue to make a very light Amber syrup and the sap averaged well over 2% for the week. I doubt we will be producing past Tuesday with the warm weather coming.”

In Franklin County a producer reports ending on 4/15 after reaching 95% of the anticipated 2019 crop.  Sap sweetness had dropped to 1.25% or less at the time.  Amber/Rich colored syrup with “very slight Buddy” off-flavor was reported at this location.

An Orleans County sugar maker reports very good sap flow over the past week.  Sap sweetness averaged about 2.25% during that time.  Syrup produced was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  This operation estimates reaching 100% of the anticipated crop as of 4/23.  This producer added the following:

“Snow finally started to melt and sap ran well all week. We are still boiling, making Dark Robust syrup now and expecting to finish this week.”

In Quebec a sugar maker southwest of Montreal reports 4/19 as being the last day of the 2019 season.  Sap flow over the past week was “Average” and sap sweetness was around 2%.  Syrup produced during the past week was reported to be Amber/Rich with “pre bud” off-flavor or what is known in Quebec “Seve”.  This operation reached 100% of the anticipated crop.