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Great week

The sap started to flow Monday and Tuesday, but the flow was a little slow. Then on Wednesday and Thursday I got the most sap per tap I have ever gotten since I started 17 seasons ago. On Friday the sap flow was about like a typical good day.

Today I woke up to cold temperatures, it never got warm enough to thaw the trees, but we had plenty of sap because we had boiled Wednesday’s sap and then held Thursday’s sap for the weekend. That was because today was our first of 4 days called Maple Weekend, when we are open to the public. We will be open again Sunday 10-4 and will repeat again next week, Saturday and Sunday, 10-4 each day. Being quite cold until about 2:00 pm traffic was a little slow but those who came were both interested in how maple syrup is made, how we do it and they bought lots of syrup. In spite of a smaller crowd, sales were good.

Tomorrow the temperature will be above freezing before the 10:00 opening time and will be up to 48 F by the ending time, thus the sap will be flowing well. That way people will get to see us firing the evaporator like normal (today we ran the evaporator slower so we wouldn’t run out of sap), as well as see the vacuum system bring sap directly to the sugarhouse, even from across the roadway into the sugarhouse. They will get to see the reverse osmosis (RO) removing lots of water from the sap before we boil it and witness how well the pre-heater in the hood heats the sap before it flows into the evaporator pans. In other words, they will see us making syrup at our normal speed.

If any of you are in the area, stop and see our operation. We are at 1220 Canal Rd., Oneida, 13421. Google maps will get you there from anyplace. While here, you can sample our syrup and mostly our special product, bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. That has proven to be a huge success, great taste, little or no alcohol. See you here, tomorrow or next weekend, Saturday or Sunday 10-4.

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I finally got sap, looking forward to Maple Weekend(s)

On Wednesday the sap started flowing, but it was slow. Then on Thursday afternoon it gradually improved so I had my first boil Friday. Throughout the day Friday it ran very well and it ran thru most of the night. Thus I had my second boil Saturday. Saturday it got cold early morning and froze the trees, it warmed to 34 F in the afternoon but that was not enough to start the sap. Then today they remained frozen. Looking at the forecast it should run again Wednesday from mid morning , maybe all night and all day Thursday. Then no sap flow Friday. I will save the sap from Wednesday and Thursday to boil on Saturday and Sunday for the Maple Weekend open house event.

If you are in the area, stop on Saturday or Sunday from 10-4 both days. Maple weekend will again be on the following weekend, same times. No appointment needed. Just stop in and see how maple syrup is made. We use old school and modern equipment. Old school, we boil on a 3′ x 8′ wood fired evaporator. Modern equipment,, we use an RO (reverse osmosis machine) which removes a lot of the water from the maple sap before we boil it. Then after the automatic draw off opens for the syrup to flow into a draw off tank we pump the syrup to a propane fired finisher, to heat the syrup back up to 205-210 F, verify the proper density and then filter the syrup in a filter press. From there the syrup is either pumped to a water jacketed bottler (if we need to fill more containers) or to a stainless steel barrel (if it is going to be stored to be packed later in the year). The syrup that is pumped to the WJ bottler then holds the syrup at 185-187 F and is then put into retail containers for sale.

For sap collection we use all modern tubing and we have vacuum on the trees. This helps us to collect the sap from the trees while causing less stress on the trees with more taps. Most trees up to 18-20″ diameter get one tap, over 20 gets 2 taps. At our sugarhouse the vacuum pulls all of the sap right to tanks just outside the sugarhouse. We also have one woods (called a sugar bush) we lease in the hills on Buyea Road, past the Madison County Landfill, on the right side heading towards Peterboro. At that bush all sap is again on vacuum and is pulled to one tank. From there we have to pump the sap from the tank into tanks on a trailer. Then we haul it to the sugarhouse for processing.

Maple sap runs as Winter moves into Spring. The sap flows after a freezing night or period of time, warms and the trees thaw. The trees are pushing the sap to feed the buds that will become leaves, we just intercept it and remove a small percentage. Sap flow does best with freezing nights and warm days.

We are located at 1220 Canal Road, Oneida. If coming from Oneida, take Main Street north towards Durhamville, before getting to Durhamville look for Rt 316. After going over the NY state Thruway, turn left on rt 316 (Lake Rd) at the flashing light. Then go about 2/10 mile, past Jack’s or Better, over the Old Erie Canal and turn left on Canal Rd (County Rt 76). Drive 3/10 miles, we are on the right, there will be Maple Weekend Open House signs. Our driveway goes in between 2 high fence gardens, the sugarhouse is back in the woods about 400′ off the road.

If coming fro Rome, take NY 46 north thru New London and Durhamville, after thru Durhamville, turn right at the flashing light onto Rt 316 (Lake Rd) Then go about 2/10 mile, past Jack’s or Better, over the Old Erie Canal and turn left on Canal Rd (County Rt 76). Drive 3/10 miles, we are on the right, there will be Maple Weekend Open House signs. Our driveway goes in between 2 high fence gardens, the sugarhouse is back in the woods about 400′ off the road.

If coming from the west on Rt 31, drive east and turn right just past White’s Farm Supply onto Rt 316. Proceed on 316 until the speed limit goes down to 40 MPH. Shortly after that take your first Right onto Canal Rd (County Rt 76). Drive 3/10 miles, we are on the right, there will be Maple Weekend Open House signs. Our driveway goes in between 2 high fence gardens, the sugarhouse is back in the woods about 400′ off the road.

If coming from Canastota or Wampsville on Canal Rd, drive until you go over the NYS Thruway, then at the bottom of the overpass ramp you will pass Schoolheimer Rd on the left, slow down, there is a woods on the left just past Schoolheimer, a few hundred feet, is out turn, at the mailbox on the left. Turn in to the left. Our driveway goes in between 2 high fence gardens, the sugarhouse is back in the woods about 400′ off the road.

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The sap is running

After several delays the sap started to run yesterday a little and then today it ran good this afternoon. It took until about 1:30 this afternoon to thaw the trees. By the looks of the weather forecast it might run day and night until Friday night. Then it should run most days with overnight freezes thru the first week in April. That should make this year the best season in years, for me in central NY State. My first boil will either be Thursday or Friday depending on how much sap I get. My guess is Thursday based on how well it ran this afternoon.

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Sap will flow soon

I turned the vacuum pump on my sugarhouse tubing system yesterday when there was sun and 36 F. I ran it for about 90 minutes and only got about 1/2 gal of sap. Apparently the trees had not thawed yet. I am going down soon to try again, it is 40 out now and has been above freezing for over 4 hours, the trees might be thawing now. If not yet, it is forecast to rise to 45 this afternoon. It is time for the sap to flow. However it’s too windy to be in the woods today, winds of 18 mph and gusts over 25. Too much risk of falling trees or limbs. Normally when the trees are thawed I get about 1-3 gallon a minute from my woods depending on several factors.

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Sap soon

Based on the long range forecast (if it can be believed) sap will start to flow for real on March 10. From there it will run every day into early April. If that proves true I may not get much time to add new posts. I will however try every week or so to add some more information on how the season is progressing. If the forecast does prove to be accurate, this should be our best season ever. That is still to be seen.