The maple season continues to move on across Vermont. For many producers 4/2-4/3 was the single largest run of sap to date. Reports of above average sap sweetness continue to come in and appear to be fairly widespread geographically. Sugar sand has been reported as a challenge for many operations which often accompanies higher rates of syrup production. The beginning of the end has come to some of the warmer areas around Vermont. The first hints of “Buddy” syrup are being detected. Buddy off-flavor can appear in lighter color syrup; another reason to taste every batch before assigning the final grade.
By and large it appears that most operations (except those in very cold locations) are on track for an average to slightly above average year. The weather in the next week will likely determine if the colder areas catch up before significant warm weather arrives and if other operations end up with well above average yields.
In Addison County a producer reported sap running “Very well” over the past week and sap sweetness averaged 2%. Syrup produced has been good tasting Amber/Rich over the past week. Total production has reached 67% at this location.
An Addison County producer in traditionally a colder operation also reports very good rates of sap flow and sap averaging about 2.25%. Syrup produced during this time has been “great tasting” Amber/Rich. Total production has reached 40% of a full crop. This producer also mentioned lots of sugar sand.
In Rutland County, a producer reports very good sap flow and sap sweetness averaging 2% over the past week. Syrup produced has been Dark/Robust with no off-flavor. Total syrup production has reached 68% at this location. The producer also added the following:
“Turned Dark quickly. Still running well. Lots of niter. Very good flavor.”
A Chittenden County producer reported “Average” sap flow over the past week. Syrup produced was Dark/Robust with a slight buddy taste appearing towards the end of the week. This operation is no longer making Grade A syrup. Total season production has reached 100% of a full crop at this location.
Another Chittenden County operation reports very good rates of sap flow and sap sweetness averaging 2.25%. Syrup grade has been Amber/Rich at this location with no off-flavors detected. Total production has reached 75% of a crop.
A third Chittenden County producer also reports very good sap flow and sap sweetness averaging 2% over the last week. Syrup produced has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors. Total production has reached 70% of expected total at this location. This producer summed up the past week, and that for many others, as “Busy!”
In Lamoille County a producer in a traditionally cold area reports “Average” rates of sap flow with sap testing at or above 2.5%. Syrup grade was Golden/Delicate with no off-flavors at this location. Total production reached 33% of a full crop at the time of reporting. On 4/6 this producer shared the following:
“We expect a very productive weekend. Sap is beginning to flow. Trees seem to finally have come out of the deep freeze. Syrup has tasted excellent.”
In Franklin County a producer reports sap flowing “Very well”. Sap has averaged 2.0% sugar having started out at 2.2 at the beginning and dropping to 1.5 by the end of the week. Syrup grade has been Golden/Delicate with no off-flavors detected. Total production had reached 63% at the time of reporting. This producer reports “lots of sugar sand” during the past week.
An Orleans County operation reports “Average” rates of sap flow over the past week with sap sweetness at or above 2.5%. Syrup produced has been “tasty” Amber/Rich. Total production was at 25% as of 4/5. This sugar maker shared the following:
“Still ~3-4 feet of snow in our woods and no big sap runs.”
In Essex County a producer reports very good sap flow and sap averaging 2.5% or higher in sweetness. Syrup produced during this time has been Amber/Rich with no off-flavors. Total production at this far northern (cold) location has reached 25% of the anticipated crop.