March 18th-April 5th

Neighbors boiling:  Steam rises from two sugarhouses along the Lamoille River valley while just out of view, two more operations work through a batch of syrup.

The 2017 season continues across the state.  While southern or traditionaly warmer areas are finishing up, some of the cold locations are just hitting their stride.  While it’s too early to tell how the crop will turn out statewide, it’s clear that the early start to the did not significantly limit overall yields for most producers.  Reports of excellent syrup flavor and some locations with above average sap sweetness have been received.  Snow remains in the woods across the northeast of the State and will likely allow the season to continue for at least another 1-2 weeks.   Forecasted temperatures reaching the 70’s for early next week will bring the end for many operations.

In Bennington County the season is nearing an end.  One producer reports average sap flow over the past week.  The night of 4/2 might be the last freeze of the season.  Sap has averaged 1.7% over the last week.  Dark/Robust syrup is being made at this location with no off-flavors reported.  Total syrup yield at this operation has reached 85% of an average crop.  Some reports of taps shutting down have come in and at least one observation of spring peepers singing on 4/3 makes it seem like all but the coldest areas in the county will be done by the end of the week.

One Rutland County producer reports boiling for a seven-day stretch (3/28-4/3).  Temperatures below freezing each night and ‘just the last couple of days above 45.’.  Syrup made has been a very light Amber/Rich (‘so close to Golden’) with very little Dark produced and no off-flavors.  Abundant (‘more than I have ever seen in my sugaring lifetime’), very light colored (‘snow white’) sugar sand built up like ‘sand dunes’ in the syrup pan.  Sap sweetness had been holding at 2% but has dropped to 1.8% recently.  This operation estimates the yield to be around 3.6 pounds of syrup/tap or roughly 85-90% of an average crop by the end of 4/3.

In Windsor County a producer reports a great run beginning on the afternoon of 4/1 and continuing into 4/2.  The following day 4/3 has a slower run.  Sap sweetness has averaged 2.0% at this location over this period.  Amber/Rich syrup with no off-flavors has been produced.  Total yield has reached 4.8 pounds of syrup/tap which is estimated to be 110% of an average crop.

In Washington County a producer reports that sap flow has been very good over the past week.  Sap sweetness has averaged 2.0% during this time.  Amber/Rich syrup with excellent flavor has been produced.  Total yield has reached 1.87 pounds of syrup/tap.  According to this producer, the relatively low production numbers are likely a result of not capturing all of the sap runs in February.

In Addison County a producer reports good sap flow coming 4/1-4/2.  The sap sweetness was 2.3% during this time.  Syrup grade has been Amber/Rich (some of which was very light in color).  Sugar sand returned and the syrup was the ‘best tasting of the season’.  Another hard run of sap on 4/3 saw sap sweetness go up slightly (2.4%) and very light colored Amber/Rich syrup with great flavor being produced.  So far at this (usually cold) location the total syrup yield has reached 80-85% of an average crop.

In Lamoille County a producer in a cold area reports that sap has ‘finally started to flow…”.  Sap flow over the last week has been average but ‘poor for the season’.  This operation reports measuring sap sweetness between ‘2.8-3.2 for 5 days.’ Sap has not been below 2.0% all season.  Syrup grade has been mostly Amber/Rich until recently when the color turned to Golden with lots of niter.  The syrup flavor has been ‘the best Golden we’ve ever tasted’.  Total syrup yield has reached 2.7 pounds/tap at this location.  This represents about 50% of an average crop for this operation.  Besides the 1st barrel of the season, none of the crop has been off-flavored.  Another producer in Lamoille County also reports sweet sap (averaging 2.5% sugar).  Sap flow has been average over the past week.  Syrup grade has been Golden/Delicate with no off-flavors.  This operation has reached 3.9 pounds of syrup/tap which represents about 2/3’s of an average crop for this location.  Based on the current forecast this producer expects to be able to boil for another week and a half to two weeks.

In Orleans County on operation reports very good sap flow over the last period.  Six inches of wet snow fell on April 1st that ‘resulted in our sweetest and largest sap runs for the season’.  Syrup grade was Golden on 4/2 ‘which is unusual for our sugarbush.’.  Sap sweetness has averaged 2.2%.  No off-flavors have been detected.  Total syrup yield has reached 2.2 lbs/tap for this producer.  This represents about 50% of an average crop.

In Essex County a producer reports that sap ‘finally started running last weekend (3/25-3/26) but it too 2 days to get enough sap to boil.’.  This operation boiled each day from 3/28-4/2 having previously only boiled on 3/9 and 3/22.  By 3/22 this operation was at about 25% of an average crop.  Sap in March averaged 2.0-2.2% sugar and syrup was Amber/Rich or Dark/Robust.  The sap collected in April has averaged 2.6-2.8% sugar and the syrup grade has been Amber to just below Golden/Delicate in color.  This operation has now reached about 45% of an average crop.  As of 4/3 there was still 2’ of snow in the woods and no tree wells appearing around the bases of the trees.