Wednesday and Thursday we packed more syrup. I had 1 barrel labeled Golden but after heating and filtering it again, it had gotten darker and had to be labeled as Amber, Rich taste. Each time syrup is heated again, even though it is not boiled, it gets darker and in the process the maple taste gets more pronounced.
While I have very little call for Golden syrup, I still like to have a little on hand in case someone wants to order it, but I will not have any more golden syrup until at least the 2020 season. Even then, sometimes I get very little golden, making much more Amber and Dark. That trend may be more evident in the future because of what I boil in compared to the number of taps I have. As I’m getting older I find the steep hills on my leased trees are getting to be too much, and thus I’m not going to tap that lease this next year.
The landowner however says he is planning to tap and collect the sap from there, starting in 2021 but he will not be boiling. I offered to boil the sap on shares, he gets a % of the syrup and I keep the rest. The % he gets will depend on the sap sugar % when he delivers it. The higher the sugar, the higher the percentage of the syrup made he gets back, or the more I pay him for the sap.
In the 2020 season I might possibly not get any Golden syrup. The biggest reason is because I still have an evaporator big enough to process the sap from about 1500-2000 taps but I will only have about 450 taps on it, plus I usually get sap from 1 or 2 other producers to boil on shares. If the landowner of the lease I’m not gong to work does start collecting and bringing that sap to me, I will likely be able to make some golden.
The biggest factor on what grade of syrup is made is how long any particular drop of syrup spends in the evaporator and a big evaporator for the quantity of sap to boil means the evaporator is boiled fewer hours to use up the sap and then it sets in the pan until the next day, sometimes more, before it is boiled again. When an evaporator can be run hard and long is when the most light colored syrup is made.
For me however this is not usually an issue, by far my highest demand is for Dark syrup, followed by a much lower call for Amber (and as stated above, an even lower call for Golden)
2013 was the last year I had my largest number of taps. That year I had 1320 taps plus I had 4 other producers who brought sap for me to boil on shares. This past season I only had 725 taps and only one other producer brought sap (the others had built a sugarhouse and gotten an evaporator of their own). The producer who brought sap now boils on his own small evaporator and only brings sap when he has too much to boil on his own evaporator.
In 2015 I also bought outright sap twice from an Amish producer who had to stop processing before the season was over because of other commitments. I bought 820 gal 2 times near the end of the season (820 is all I can haul in one load)
If I wasn’t planning to be getting sap after one more year from the landowner of my old lease I would sell my evaporator and buy a smaller one.