Bonus Bulletin (end of March-April 4th)

The first US patent for plastic maple tubing went to Nelson S. Griggs of Montpelier, VT in 1959.  Although it seems outdated by today’s standards (tubing was laid out along the ground) this innovation elevated the “time consuming drudgery which accounts for a major portion of the cost in the production of maple sugar…by reducing the tedious task of periodic tree-to-tree collection.”   

A few reports of producers ending sap collection have begun to arrive.  Operations with northerly facing aspects have remained strong with sugarbushes facing south seeing diminished sap flow.

A Massachusetts maple operation about 25 miles south of Bennington reports they are still producing syrup as of 4/4.  The sap has dropped to 1.5% but “still running good”.  All syrup has been Golden and Amber with just a small amount of Dark.  Flavor has been good until recently.  Total production has been average or slightly above average this season.

In Bennington County one producer reports being done after making “a full crop”.  Another producer reports last boiling on 3/29.  There was modest freeze the following night that only produced a “weak run” on 3/31 and 4/1.  This operation is just over an average crop in terms of syrup production.  A third producer in Bennington County reports boiling 3/31-4/2 and reaching 80% of last year’s total.  This operation taps a high elevation sugarbush and expects to be boiling “several times more”.  There have also been no reports of off-flavored syrup to date.

A Windsor County producer reports having an excellent season so far.  Total syrup production has reached 4.5lb/tap at this location.  Most the syrup has been Golden and Amber.  This producer saw good runs of sap in February and early March.  The previous five days were 3/30-4/3 have been disappointing from a sap flow perspective despite what would seem like idea sugaring weather.  The sap sweetness has also dropped from 2.0 to 1.6%.

A Washington County producer reports reaching about 50% of a crop as of 4/2.  This operation has suffered from vacuum issues, labor issues and health issues, all of which have contributed to lower than expected production.  Sap has been around 2%.  The distribution of syrup grade so far this season has been 45% Amber, 45% Dark and 10% Golden.

In Lamoille County a producer reports reaching about 60% of a crop as of 4/2.  Syrup has been mostly Amber (70%) with some Golden (30%).  The syrup flavor has been “outstanding.  Sap has remained steady at 2%.  There has been very little niter and no issues with filtering so far.

A second Lamoille County producer reports purchasing sap from a variety of locations with a range of production levels.  A property in Orleans County has had issues with low vacuum and high snow and the season production has reached 1.75lb/tap.  A property in Franklin County has also struggled with low vacuum and has reached 2.35lb/tap.  A third property (Lamoille County) has reached 3.6lbs/tap.

A third Lamoille County producer reports making a “full crop”.  Sap flow has slowed down significantly on the southwest facing trees.  Trees with northern aspect are still running.  In terms of flavor there has been some “early bud detected”.  This producer is about done for the season.

spout pic
Thermal and visual image of six different spouts.  The top two spouts are black nylon, the middle two spouts are green and white nylon (left to right) and the bottom two spouts are clear polycarbonate spouts.  The air temperature in the shade at the time the images were taken was 14F.   

An Orleans County producer reports sap running about average and steadily over the past week.  Sap has tested between 2.0-2.2% over this period.  Nice flavored Amber syrup is being produced currently.  This operation was at about 1/3rd of a crop as of 4/1.

A Caledonia County producer reports that 3/31 was the “first good run of the season”.  All syrup this season has been on the light end of Amber (70-74% LT) except for the first two runs in February.  Sap has been between 2-2.2% all season.  It has been a very “low niter year” with very little pan cleaning necessary.  As of 4/2 there was still 12018” of snow in the woods and the snow has just begun to pull away from the trees (tree wells).

An Essex County producer reports reaching about 50% of a crop as of 4/4.  A lot of snow remains on the ground and no significant warm temperatures in the forecast.  Syrup filtering at this location has not been difficult to date.



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