A solid run of sap was collected by many producers in Vermont Tuesday-Wednesday (3/22-3/23). While there have been plenty of reports of overall lower than average sap sweetness, others have seen sap remain in typical ranges. Like so many things in the world of maple production the answer will have to wait until the end of the season. There have been some reports of niter appearing in larger quantities and/or different consistencies this week. Sap ran extremely hard for many producers over the weekend as well (3/27-3/28). Reports of record rates of sap flow had many producers boiling late and producing a lot of syrup in a short period of time.
In Bennington county, the report is that sap continues to be collected from some operations, especially those with trees at higher elevations. One operation had strong runs Monday through Wednesday (3/21-23) while others saw ‘strong runs throughout the week’. Sap flow tapered off a bit on Saturday (3/26) following a freeze the night before. Some light colored syrup with a ‘butterscotch taste’ was produced Friday night (3/25). The sense in this part of Vermont is that the crop will end up being average to above average (even for those who did not collect the early run around February 1st).
In Washington county. one operation reports reaching 2.75 pounds of syrup/tap. The syrup being produced has been Amber and Dark (no Golden) with ‘first of the season, creamy taste’. Producers are optimistic about plenty more production to come.
In Addison county, a producer in an especially cold area reports that sap flow was average to very good during the last week. Sap sweetness has averaged 1.83 ⁰brix over this time. Syrup grade has been consistently Amber with no off flavors reported. Total season syrup yield has now reached 2.94 pounds/tap at this location. Sugar sand appeared along with a great run of sap on Friday (3/25). Sunday’s big run (3/27) also featured a ‘good amount of sugar sand’.
In Chittenden county, one operation in Underhill reports strong sap flow, especially over the weekend (3/25-3/27). Sap sweetness has ranged at this location between 1.6-2.0% over this time. Only good flavored syrup has been produced so far. The niter produced has taken on a pasty consistency which has made filtering difficult. Total syrup yield has reached 4.9 pounds/tap at this location. Another operation reports strong flows and relatively sweet sap (~2.0%) over the past week. Total season syrup production has reached 0.495 pounds/tap.
In Lamoille county, one producer had very good runs of sap Wednesday (3/23) as well as Friday straight through the weekend (3/25-27). Sap sweetness has been between 1.7-1.8% during this period. Syrup grade had been Dark with a strong (but not bad) flavor earlier in the week and has steadily improved to the point of being ‘amazing’ to this producer. Syrup color has almost reached Amber with ‘super flavor’. Total season syrup yield has reached 3.65 pounds/tap at this location. Another Lamoille county producer very good sap flow (especially over the weekend. Sap sweetness has averaged 2.1% and syrup grade Amber (with no off flavors) was produced during this period. Total season syrup yield at this location has reached 4.0 pounds/tap. Another operation (in a generally cold location) reports that sap flow was below average for most of the week and above average from Sunday to Monday (3/27-3/28). Sap sweetness has averaged 2.0% or better. Syrup grade produced has been all Golden with no off flavors reported. This location has seen ‘lots’ of niter and it is impacting syrup filtering capacity of the press (lowered by ~50% at one point). Total syrup production has reached a yield of 3.1 pounds/tap at this location.
One Orleans county producer reports very good sap flow over the past week. Sap sweetness was 2.2% and Golden syrup was being produced. This operation uses steam evaporation and so generally makes light colored syrup. Total syrup yield at this operation has reached 2.24 pounds/tap. The prediction from this operation is for a big crop (if things continue ‘as is’). Another operation (this one in a historically cold location) reports experiencing temperatures too cold for sap flow and 4-6” of snow. Temperatures warmed enough later on Saturday (3/26) for sap to flow. Sunday morning brought the start of big run that was continuing into Monday (3/28). Sap sweetness rose to 2.4% and was clear following the sustained cold period. Nice flavored Golden syrup was being produced most recently at this location. Total season syrup yield has reached 2.9 pounds/tap at this location.
From Caledonia county, one operation reports little to no flow from until Saturday (3/26). When it did open up the sap ran hard. Sunday (3/27) had sap flow rates just under 4 gallons/tap/24 hours. The sap sugar content was 2.4%. Warm sap temperatures made for easier (and higher) concentration with the RO. The higher elevation trees at this location ‘finally started running’ during this period. Syrup grade changed from Amber to Golden with no off flavors reported. Total season yield has reached 2.9 pounds of syrup/tap.
Looking ahead, the forecast includes a period of moderating temperatures for the middle to end of the week. A bit further out it appears that more freezing weather is coming.