Dr Jim Marvin (left) and Mr. Lloyd Sipple discuss an early reverse osmosis machine in Bainbridge, NY (April 20th, 1968).
While there are a few extremely cold pockets that exist, the 2016 season ended in most southerly locations over last week. By and large, reports are that producers who have finished production had a good to very good season. Given the cold weather that has separated periods of sap flow, some are calling this a season in three acts. This third act (for those still producing) will begin today or tomorrow (4/6-4/7). Depending on the quality of sap that is produced with this run, some producers will make more syrup while others will be forced to call it a season.
Bennington county reports indicate that virtually every producer is done. However, there are at least one or two producers still going. One operation with a higher elevation sugarbush (~2,500’) was still producing as of Sunday (4/3). They have had a good season so far with a syrup/tap yield of 4.4 pounds. Sap sweetness has averaged ~2.0% all season. This is apparently a little high for their average. No off-flavors have been made at this location.
One Addison county producer (cold location) reports average to very good sap flow on 3/30 and 3/31 respectively. Poor sap flow is reported for the next two days (4/1-4/2). Sap sweetness was between 1.6-1.7% at this location. Syrup grade was either Amber or Dark with no off-flavors reported. Lots of sugar sand was reported at this location last week. Total season syrup production has reached 4.07 pounds/tap.
The report from Chittenden county includes one operation that has seen sap sweetness drop from 2% to 1.7% over the past week. This operation most recently made Dark syrup with no off-flavors. Total season syrup yield has reached 5.83 pounds/tap. Another producer reports sap dropping in sweetness to 1.4%. Total season production for that operation reached 6.0 pounds of syrup/tap by Saturday (4/2). Syrup produced at that location on Friday and Saturday (4/1-4/2) changed from Golden to Amber and syrup produced on the second day appeared to have a slight change in flavor. Other reports from around the county include producers reaching between 5-6 pounds of syrup/tap.
In Lamoille county, one producer reports a huge run on 3/29-3/31 and below average flow on 4/1-4/2. Sap sweetness was 2.0% over this time. Syrup produced was mostly Golden before changing to Dark at the end of the run. No off-flavors were reported during this time. Total syrup yield has reached 4.1 pounds/tap at this location. Another producer reports good to very good sap flow over the past week. Sap sweetness has ranged from 1.6-1.8%. Syrup produced at this location was either Dark or Very Dark over the past week. The syrup produced on 3/31 had very good maple flavor but a slight change in the flavor was also detected. Total season syrup yield has reached 4.33 pounds/tap at this location. In what may be true for many others, this location had sap runs large enough to equal 25% of the crop in two days. A third producer in Lamoille county reports good sap flow over the last week. Sap sweetness has averaged 1.8% and the syrup produced has been Amber. Some slight change in the flavor has been detected but it is still considered table grade at this location. Total syrup yield for this producer stands at 5.1 pounds/tap.
Orleans county (Morgan) reports good production through last Tuesday morning (3/29) but then cold temperatures and snow stopped sap flow. Things opened up slowly on the following afternoon (3/30) and then ran hard on Thursday (3/31). This run lasted until Sunday (4/2) and included the highest rate of sap flow and syrup production every recorded for this location. Syrup grade was Golden. Towards the end of the run, sap started to get cloudy and sap sweetness fell to 1.5%. By this time, syrup grade had become Dark with good flavor. In all, this operation reports making a mix of Golden, Amber and Dark syrup with no off flavors. Total syrup production has reached 4.6 pounds/tap at this location.
In Caledonia county, one producer reports the sap ran between 3/31-4/2 and was ‘a season making run’. The syrup produced early in the run was Golden and was ‘best flavored syrup of the year’. Syrup grade darkened through the range of Amber by the end of the run. Sap sweetness began at 2.5% and dropped progressively each day of the run, ending at 1.8-1.9% by the end. Total syrup yield at this location has reached 4.49 pounds/tap. This producer is taking the active step of pulling spouts on red maples before the next run.