April 6th-May 1st

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Time to make the next generation of maple producers:  Sugar maple flowers can either be ‘perfect’ (male and female parts) or ‘imperfect’ (just one or the other) and are now thought to be mostly wind pollinated. 

The 2017 maple season in Vermont is over.  For a crop known for producing no two seasons alike, this year certainly didn’t disappoint.  Producers who were tapping during the early January sap run, had the season last nearly nine weeks.  For those who waited out the first runs of sap the season was more typical in length.  It seemed like the month of March behaved more like a cold February than anything else.  While production totals have yet to be finalized statewide, it does appear that the 2017 season was good overall.  A few producers saw yields above last year’s record crop while most operations appear to be “there or thereabouts” compared to the long term average.  It appears that syrup flavor was excellent for most producers, with only limited reports of off-flavors received.

A Bennington County producer reports the season ended on April 3rd.  This operation began tapping in early February and first boiled on February 19th.  The sap sweetness was noticeably low this year (averaging ~1.5% for the season).  The last boil was on April 13th.  Total yield for this operation was 0.172 gallons of syrup/tap (1.9 pounds/tap).  This is estimated to be about 85% of an average crop for this producer.  Syrup grade was almost all Dark-Robust.  No off-flavors were reported.

A Windsor County producer reports a record year, eclipsing even last year’s totals.   The boiling season began on February 22nd and lasted until April 11th at this location.  Good runs of sap were reported on 8-10th of April.  The crop included some of all four grades of syrup.  No off-flavors were detected.  Syrup yield from this operation reached 0.62 gallons of syrup/tap (6.82 pounds/tap) in 2017.

An Addison County producer reports having the second best season on record.  Syrup grade ranged from a light Amber-Rich to Dark-Robust.  No off-flavors were detected.  This relatively cold location began tapping on February 8th, finished tapping on the 19th and had their first boil on February 23rd.  Good runs of sap were seen up until the end of the season.  Syrup yield reached 0.46 pounds of syrup/tap (5.08 pounds/tap) at this location.

One Lamoille County producer in a relatively cold location saw better than average production this season.  The sap sweetness averaged over 2% for all but the final week of the season.  This operation was still in the process of tapping when a big run came in mid-February.  Syrup grade was consistently light with ‘Golden or very light Amber comprising about 2/3 of the crop’.  As with others around the state March was colder than average.  This operation only boiled 6 times in March but made up for it with good April sap flow.  Total production at this location reached .44 gallons of syrup/tap (4.8 pounds/tap).  Another Lamoille County producer reports a good season that started after the first big run in February.  Good vacuum made up for lost time, average vacuum levels were around 24” Hg.  Syrup grade weighted towards Amber (80%) and a small about of Dark and Very Dark made at the end of the season (11% and 9% respectively).  Sap sweetness averaged about 2% during the season and dropped to below 2% at the end.  Total yield at this location reached 0.33 gallons of syrup/tap (3.6 pounds/tap).

An Orleans County producer reports finishing up production on April 13th when syrup took on a slight Buddy smell.  Unusual for this location was that >90% of the crop was very light Amber or Golden.  The last week of production saw average sap flow.  Sap sweetness had dropped to 1.7% and Dark-Robust syrup being produced.  Total yield for this operation reached .43 gallons of syrup/tap (4.7 pounds/tap).

Many thanks to all the producers who took time from their busiest time of the year to gather and contribute weekly data for this project.  Many operations appreciate hearing how the season is progressing around the state and you make this possible.  Thanks!