Finally we got some cooler weather and the next week will mostly be cooler. With the cooler weather, I hauled a barrel of dark syrup and a barrel of amber syrup to the sugarhouse from my storage barn. I pumped the dark into the finisher yesterday. I noted it is near the change between dark and very dark. I will add some amber to the finisher to lighten the blend. That will be either Sunday or Monday because those days will be the coolest in the forecast. The reason I add the amber is because every time syrup is heated and cools it becomes a little darker, without adding some amber the dark would darken enough to end up as very dark, which is a poor selling grade, dark is my best.
At the latest, on Monday 8/31/2020 I will have more dark in stock and by 9/1/2020 I will get counts and reflect some of the new inventory in my online store. The rest will be used for my local retail outlet and for my sales from home. A day or two after I pack the dark I will pack more amber and will also reflect that in my store inventory.
My next thing to pack after that is my next batch of bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, getting ready for the Christmas sales which have been very good since I added bourbon barrel aged maple syrup to my product line.
Other things in the works:
#1. Remove the sprayer from my tractor. It is used to spray my blueberries, and that season is over. I already winterized the sprayer, I just need to remove it from the tractor.
#2. I need to finish my firewood for the 2021 season. The logs have been down for 3-6 years, I just need to buck them to 21″ lengths and split them to wrist size.
#3. Then I’ll be repairing maple lines. Between the trees and limbs that fall and take the tubing down I always have to clean up and repair any damages.
#4. Next I plan to add up to a maximum of 50-100 more taps in sections not yet tapped on my sugarhouse property. Any additional taps will get routed so the sap flows directly to the sugarhouse, like all of my existing taps.
#5. I may ask one neighbor if I can tap some of her maples. If I get that permission that sap would also be routed to the sugarhouse. She has enough for at least 50 more taps, but I will need her permission. When I tap trees owned by others I pay the landowner a per tap rate every year.
#6. Last but not least, somewhere in all of the above I’ll need to educate the landowner from my last lease, that landowner retires in December. He said he wants to tap the trees I used to tap and sell the sap. I will likely get much of that sap too. That would bring my taps to boil from up to well over 1000, maybe as many as 1400-1500 taps.
#7. If I do get near 1200 or more taps I’ll need to add another R.O. I already have the membranes and the pressure vessels, I would need a pressure pump, a feed pump, and the high pressure hoses , gauges, wash tank and valves. With that I could handle 1500 taps OK. If I don’t get another R.O. I’d sell my existing R.O. and buy a bigger one. If I go that route, I’d need to build a bigger heated R.O. room. (for those who don’t know, an R.O is short for reverse osmosis. It is really a super filter, it removes pure water from the sap. Sap can start with 1-3.5% sugar in it, the R.O. , by removing water can take the sugar up to 12-14% which reduces the time and firewood needed to concentrate the sap by boiling to end up as pure maple syrup. Any R.O. I’d either build or buy would only concentrate to 14, maybe 16 or 18%, R.O. s are out there that will even concentrate to 35%, but they are far too big and expensive for my to ever get.