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Going in for surgery

I have major surgery tomorrow. Any orders placed from now until a couple of days after I get home, will not be shipped until about the 3rd day. I may be in the hospital for 3-7 days, thus orders may be unprocessed until about April1-4 depending on when I get back home. At that, I will be on a no lifting order for 6-8 weeks, but I can coach my wife to get the orders ready and to ship them.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

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I hope everyone had a great Easter ( or Passover or Ramadan)

We are gearing up for a busy spring and summer. Plans include tilling another area to plant more blueberries, not as large of a planting as the ones back 40 years ago, just adding another variety. We are also going to try our hand at propagating more of the new variety, (the price of new plants has increased 15-20 fold since our first planting and being we are both retired trying to plant 1/4-1/2 acre is cost prohibitive. I also have a couple of sawmilling projects, first will be to cut new planks for our trailer deck, (a 16′ long gooseneck trailer) and after that lots of cutting for an addition on my shop, 2 out buildings and an open, drive through saw shed to help protect the sawmill and to saw in. Soon it will be time to fertilize the 4.5 acres of existing blueberries (the new planting won’t get any fertilizer until next year. Then onto finishing the sawing and starting the construction. I don’t expect to complete all of the building projects this year, but hopefully by the end of 2024 if I’m lucky.

Do you also have projects planned for this year? How about next year?

Have a wonderful year!

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Syrup back in stock

Today I finished packing Amber, Rich taste syrup and tomorrow I’ll start doing dark, robust taste. Any orders in by 7PM local, on Sunday will be shipped out on Monday 3/27/23. From then on i will ship orders in the store by 6pm local on the next business day.

Thank you for your patience. I was out of too many choices of syrup, I hope that will not happen again. This year’s syrup production has been very good, the season started a little later than it did the last few years, but once it started it kept going with no real warm days nor cold days, both of which can stop the season. What we need to make maple syrup is freezing nights, best if 27F or below, and warm days, best if in low 40’s, but some sap will flow from about 34F up to the mid 50’s. As of today the red maple buds have opened, but the sugar maples are still tight. If they stay tight this could end up being one of our best seasons in several years. Once the rest of the maple buds open the 2023 season is done.

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I finally have enough syrup to bottle some. In about 2 days I’ll update my counts, first I’ll pack amber syrup, when I get that done I’ll pack more dark syrup. So, if all goes according to plan on Thursday, 3/23/23 I will update my stock numbers for Amber-Rich syrup, then in 3 or 4 days after that I’ll update my stock numbers of dark-robust syrup. Thus Amber will be ready about 3/23 and Dark will be ready about 3/26 or 27. This year syrup prices for now will remain unchanged. At this time I don’t know if the prices will go up or down later on.

Syrup season is always a very busy time, thus the syrup as it’s made it is all packed into stainless steel barrels, then as the work gets caught up, I pump a barrel of each into my finisher, heat it up , filter it (again, it was filtered once as each barrel was filled) then it goes into the bottler where it is held at 186+/- 1 degree F and the retail containers are filled. If I need to pack both Amber-rich and Dark-Robust I always do the Amber first, because Dark can follow it without breaking down the filter and thoroughly clean it out before I filter the Dark. The reverse is not possible because it takes very little Dark to turn Amber into Dark, but the little amount of Amber left in the filter as I process Dark makes no visible difference. Being the second time each barrel is filtered, I can filter 80-120 gal on one set of filters, while the first time it was filtered I may only get 25-40 gal filtered before I need to break down the filter press, clean it, and install a new set of papers before I can resume filtering.

The 2023 season is not over yet either, it has just slowed down some. This year may turn out to be the best in several years, it started slow, but slightly early, then it ran hard for about 3 weeks, before slowing down. Some years the season may only last 2-2.5 weeks, other years it can last 6-7 weeks, no telling how long this will run yet. The maple season will last as long as we get freeze thaw cycles without the buds breaking on the maple trees, once the buds open, it’s all over.

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Christmas orders

As Christmas gets closer, I would like to remind everyone that you should order early. Orders placed on or before Dec 10 should be safe, orders placed on or after Dec 15 may arrive late.

My local sales are up by about 60% over the last 2 years. I do have 1 more barrel of amber (40 gal) and 3 more barrels of dark (27 gal each) but I won’t pack them into jugs until I know which sizes I need. Once I run low in any grade and size it takes me 3 days generally to pack more of that grade and size, day 1, warm the barrel to at least 100F so it is able to be pumped from the barrel to my finisher, while the syrup heats I wash all equipment to be used, then day 2, heat the syrup in the finisher from room temperature up to 180-190F. Once at 180-190F it gets filtered and pumped into the bottler tank. Once in the bottler tank it is heated to 85+/-1 degree F, tested for density and final graded (retested to verify the % of light transmission thru a test vial.

Finally, it is corrected for density if necessary and bottling can be done. My bottler only holds 15-16 gal, once that is bottled I bring the contents of the finisher beck up to 180-190F and repeat, thus a 27.5 gal barrel of dark requires 2 days to bottle, a 40 gal barrel of amber needs 3 days. When I pack more, I process the entire barrel.

As a side note, my recovery from surgery has gone well, however I do require more time to rest.