2019 Vermont Maple Bulletin

The 2019 Vermont maple season began in January but widespread syrup production was delayed until the middle of March due to persistent cold temperatures and snow.

Welcome to the 2019 Edition of the Vermont Maple Bulletin.  This project is beginning its fourth year and is intended to provide a general summary of Vermont maple syrup production.  Thank you to all the producers who contribute production data.  Given all the variables in location, production technology and processing techniques it’s impossible to perform rigorous analysis on the information but it does allow for some general statewide summaries.  If you would like to contribute reports for the 2019 season feel free to contact me to learn how:  mark.isselhardt@uvm.edu

The 2019 Vermont maple season has taken its time to get started.  Many large operations around the state began tapping in early January but widespread syrup production had to wait until the middle of March.  Those operations that had trees tapped during the short periods of above freezing weather in late January and February.  Widespread syrup production didn’t get started until the middle of March.  In some colder areas of the state sap wasn’t collected until the third week of March.

The delay in sap flow caused by persistent winter temperatures doesn’t necessarily mean the crop will be significantly impacted.  As has been seen in the past, a lot of good syrup can be made in a short period of time.  How the season plays out in terms of temperature will determine the quantity and quality.

A large operation near the Vermont border in southern NH reports cold temperatures producing a “very late crop”.  Sap flow over the past week has been average.  Sap sweetness has been averaging around 2.25% and syrup grade has been Golden/Delicate with no off-flavors detected.  Total syrup production at this point has reached about 18% of the anticipated crop.

A Rutland County producer reports the first real run of sap during this week.  Flow rates have been considered “average” and sweetness “above average” at over 2.5%.  Syrup grade has been Amber turning to Golden with no off-flavors detected.  The volume of niter has been increasing and is reported to be very white in color.  Total production of syrup is about 20% at this location.

In Windsor County a producer reports average sap flow rates over the last week.  Sap sweetness averaged 2.25% during that time.  Golden syrup with no off-flavors was produced at this location.  To date, this operation has reached approximately 16% of a full crop.

An Addison County producer in a historically cold location reports average sap flow over the past week and sap sweetness was approximately 2.25% during that time.  Syrup grade was Amber with no off-flavors.  So far this operation has only just begun production and total yield is 3% of the anticipate total.  Abundant snow was also reported at this location.

 

On the bright side have been reports of sweeter than average sap although the sap seen here testing at 10% is definitely not the norm. Photo courtesy of Philip Young, Essex Middle School, Essex, VT

In Chittenden County a producer reports cold weather causing a slow or delayed start to the season.  It has been about 40 years since the season began this late at this location.  This has also meant more time to fix aspects of the tubing system resulting in high vacuum when the sap began flowing.  Sap flow rates were considered “average” over the past week with sweetness around 2.25%.  As of 3/22 total production has reached 20-25% of a crop at this location.

A producer in Essex County reports zero sap flow over the past week and only three days of sap flow as of 3/21.  Sap sweetness has been averaging 1.25% and syrup that has been produced so far this season has been Dark with no off-flavors.