March 9th-March 15th

Snapshot of a season:  Sample jars in a window at Maple Hill Maple, Shaftsbury.  The season in southern Vermont is entering its final stages with some colder, higher elevation operations hoping to make it to better sugaring weather later this week.

Last week brought the warmest temperatures yet seen this year.  Southern Vermont saw readings in the mid to upper 70’s on Wednesday (9th).  Temperatures began to return to (but not reach) more seasonal values a few days later.  A freeze over the weekend kicked off some of the largest sap runs statewide.  Operations that have been able to withstand the above average warmth of last week will likely enjoy another week of good sugaring weather.  Forecasts for the coming 7 days appear to be ideal for many areas of the state.

The report from Bennington County is that flow has slowed for many producers as tap holes are beginning to show ‘their age’.  A report from one producer who purchases sap from many operations is that many individuals are either done completely or are done boiling and have switched to selling sap.  The general feeling from that operation is that the season was below average in sugar content and dark in syrup grade.  Another producer reports reaching 2.09 pounds of syrup/tap (this represents ~90% of a full crop for this operation).  Very strong sap flow was seen on Tuesday and Saturday following freezes on 3/7 and 3/11.  Syrup grade has been Dark or Very Dark with no off flavors reported as late as Sunday (3/13).  The report also includes an observation of ‘very little niter the whole season’.

In Windham County, one producer has reached 2.31 pounds of syrup/tap for the year.  The syrup has been dark in color but excellent flavor.  Sap sugar content has dropped a little given the lack of freezes.  This producer has the advantage of being higher elevation and hopes that will allow production to continue until this Friday’s forecasted freeze.

In Rutland county, a producer reports Saturday (3/12) was the first real run of sap this season.  Sap sweetness is averaging 2.2%.  Syrup grade was very light Amber and a bit of Golden earlier in the week.  The grade changed to Dark and Very Dark, likely as a result of the temperatures in the 60’s-70’s.  As of Monday (3/14) syrup production has reached 3.1 pounds of syrup/tap.  No off flavors are reported.

In Addison county, a Starksboro producer who has a generally cold sugarbush, has reached 1.21 pounds of syrup/tap this season.  This operations first boil was on 3/9.  They have had three very good runs of sap (3/9, 3/11 and 3/12).  Sap sweetness has averaged just barely over 2%.  Syrup grade has included Golden, Amber and Dark with the greatest amount produced as Amber with good flavor.  Like most parts of the state, Saturday and Sunday brought a ‘huge sap run’.

In Washington county, one producer reports sap averaging 2.1% from around 5000 taps.  They have made 375 gallons since their first boil on 3/2.  This operation, as with most, saw an excellent run of sap over the weekend.

Lamoille county, one producer reports great flow on Saturday.  Sap sweetness is 2-2.25%.  This producer reports the first occurrence of sugar sand this season.  The syrup produced has been Golden with no off flavor.  Season syrup production has reached 1.3 pounds of syrup/tap.  Another Lamoille county operation reports very good flow and sap sweetness ranging from 2.2-2.4%.  The season yield at this operation as of 3/13 is 1.83 pounds of syrup/tap.  All syrup produced has been Golden with no off flavors reported.

3/16″ tubing was running strong Cooks Sugarhouse in Hyde Park all weekend.  Many producers saw the best run of sap on Saturday and Sunday.  Some producers report it as the biggest run of sap they had ever witnessed.

One Franklin county producer reports that Saturday saw perhaps the ‘best run of sap ever’.  Sap sweetness has remained 1.9-2%.  That operation made close to 20% of the seasons total crop in two days.  The season yield so far has reached just under 2.5 pounds of syrup/tap.  Syrup produced has been largely Amber.  The flavor has been sweet without a lot not maple flavor.  This producer commented that sugar sand needs to show up before good maple flavor arrives.

In Orleans county, one Derby operation reports very good sap flow and sap sweetness averaging 2.2%.  Syrup produced has been Golden with no off flavors.  The total season yield for this operation has reached 1.1 pounds of syrup/tap.  Another operation (in Morgan), began collecting sap on 3/8 and boiled for the first time on 3/9.  To date the sap flow has been very good and sap sweetness has averaged 2.2%.  Syrup made so far has been a mix of Golden and Amber with no off flavors.  Per tap yield at the operation was 1.1 pounds as of 3/14.

In Caledonia county, a producer with a fairly cold, mostly west facing sugarbush between 1,500-2,200’ in elevation reports good production since Saturday (3/12).  A light freeze on Monday (3/14) helped boost sap flow.  So far, sap sweetness has ranged between 2.2-2.3%.  By Tuesday (3/15) yield per tap had reached 1.97 pounds.  Syrup grade has been very consistently on the light side of Amber or dark end of Golden.  This producer has heard that others are producing good flavored Dark.  Finally, this producer reports that niter just started to show up.  Syrup has been difficult to filter, requiring more DE. The total amount of syrup that will go through the press before needing to change has been lower this year.

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