March 23rd-April 1st

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Cold temperatures have limited sap flow in some areas.  This clear spout offers a glimpse at frozen sap waiting for warmer weather.  Producers around the state report production on track in warmer areas and behind by 1-2 weeks in colder woods. 

What a difference a week makes.  The 2019 sugaring season has been cold and slow to start but it has definitely started in all areas.  Reports are coming in that consistently reference above average sap sweetness.  If that is in fact the case its yet another reason why we all have to wait for the end of the season to see how large the crop will be.  In terms of total production, the reports range from a low of 9% to a high of around 75%.  As might be expected the lowest levels of production are coming from areas that typically see colder temperatures and later seasons in general.

A producer across the border in southern NH reported very good sap flow over the past week.  Sap sweetness averaged 2% during that time.  Golden/Delicate syrup was produced during the same period and so far, no off-flavors have been detected.  Season long production has reached about 66% of the anticipated crop at this location.  This sugar maker goes on to say that much of the surrounding areas in southern Vermont, New York and New Hampshire are between 60-75% of the expected total.

In Rutland County a sugar maker reports very good sap slow over the last week.  Sap sweetness has also be good, averaging 2.5% or above during that time.  Syrup produced has been a mix of Golden/Delicate and Amber/Rich (see comment below).  No off-flavors have been detected at this location.  Total production has reached 45% of the anticipated season total at this location.

“We have switched back and forth between golden and amber depending on the temperature of the sap coming in. The niter is crazy. Making sand dunes in the pans as well as getting baked on. Very white in color. Flavor of the syrup is exceptional. On Sunday, Mar 24 we saw the heaviest run we’ve seen since 1982! It was amazing and lasted into Monday. Good sugaring temps except for today. Lower 20’s to teens nights and low 40’s during the day. Today was 35 at 7am and continued up until 63 at 4pm. Some sap drizzling in.

In Addison County a sugar maker reports average sap flow over the past week.  Sap sweetness has been around 2.25% and Golden/Delicate syrup with no off-flavors was made during the same time.  Total production has reached 47% of the anticipated total for this operation.  This producer shared the following observation:

“Poplar buds are far ahead of snow conditions. Could turn buddy sooner than it looks.”

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Accumulated Growing Degree Days (GDD) Anomaly as of April 1st, 2019.  GDD is used as a measure of the progression of spring and is equal to the average of daily high and low temperatures, minus a base value (in this case 32).  Anomaly is the departure from long-term averages.  Most of Vermont appears to be behind its long term average GDD for the date but a few areas appear grey (No difference).  This is in contrast to many parts of the southeast US which are ahead of long-term averages.  

 

A Chittenden County producer reported average sap flow over the past week.  Sap sweetness was around 2% during that same time and syrup grade was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production reached 66% of an expected crop at this location.

A second Chittenden County producer reports very good sap flow over the past week.  Sap sweetness has been averaging 2.5% or above.  Syrup grade has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected to date.  Total production has reached 50% of the anticipated crop and that producer is hoping for three more weeks of production.

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The production sugarhouse at the University of Vermont, Proctor Maple Research Center has only boiled twice in 2019 but that has been enough to reach roughly 1/2 of a minimum crop.  The few number of boils have more to do with 35% concentrate and refrigerated storage than only having two days of sap flow.    

A third Chittenden County operation reports very good sap flow during the past week and sap averaging about 2.25%.  Syrup grade has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total syrup production has reached 30% at this location.

A Franklin County operation reports very good rates of sap flow during the past week.  Sap sweetness has averaged 2.25% during that period.  Syrup grade has been Golden/Delicate with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 50% of the anticipated crop at this location.  This sugar maker has been impacted by squirrel populations boosted by last year’s wide spread masting of oak, beech and other hardwoods.

One Lamoille County producer reports very good sap flow over the last week.  Sap sweetness has been 2.5% or above during that time.  Syrup grade was Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 50% of a crop at this location.  The sugar maker added the following details:

“Sweetest sap we’ve seen in years. Nice flavor. Thursday (3/28) was the best single day production ever…My small single membrane RO is a huge time and fuel saver…nice that folks are finally making these units for the smaller producer as well.”

A second Lamoille County operation in a cold location reports below average sap flow during the last week with sap sweetness being around 2.25%.  Syrup produced has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors.  Total production has reached 15% of a crop.  The producer added the following:

 “Sap flow has been way below average.  We’ve only had 7 days of sap flow all season with most days not running well.  Sap was over 3% two days this week.  Lots of snow!!”

In Orleans County a producer reports average sap flow during the past week.  Sap sweetness has averaged around 2.25% at this location.  Syrup grade has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors detected.  Total production has reached 11% of the total anticipated at this location.  The sugar maker goes on to add:

“Soooo much snow. We spent several days digging out mainlines and then we raised our mainlines 1-2 feet.”

In Essex County a producer reported average rates of sap flow during the past week with sap sweetness around 2.25%.  Syrup produced at this location has been Dark/Robust with no off-flavor.  Total production has reached 9% of the expected total at this location.  This sugar maker shares the following that likely holds for many operations in colder areas:

“Starting a little late. Lots of snow in the woods requiring lines to be shoveled multiple times.”

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