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Preparing for the 2019 maple season

We just made about 450-500 new drops yesterday. A drop has a tap on one end, is about 32-34″ long tubingĀ  and has a tee on the other end. That tee then joins the tubing going from tree to tree, which in turn enters a mainline. Mechanical vacuum is on all lines. Tomorrow a small crew of 5 will be working in my leased bush making tubing repairs and installing the new drops. All drops are replaced every 3 years. I now use silver bearing taps which help kill any bacteria that gets in the lines, the taps with that are good for 3 years, those without need to be new every year.

While we have surveyed the tubing in both bushes, this will be our first day fixing lines. We changed all of the drops last year at the sugarhouse bush, about half got the silver bearing taps, the rest will be changed to those this year there.

We hope to have all repairs done in 3 weeks, then whenever the forecast is right we can tap in 2-3 days time, and then start making syrup again. At that point it all depends on the weather, to make syrup we need good freeze thaw cycles, down to 27F or colder then up to 40-45 works best, but smaller swings still work, just not as well. Once we get a freeze to 27 or colder then if it stays warm (above freezing) the sap can run well for 2 days, then a little slower for another day, sometimes 2. If we get the freeze thaw cycles every day for a while we get lots of sap and the sugar percent in the sap rises, if we just get 1 freeze and then no freeze for more than 2 days the sugar percent in the sap gradually falls.

If we have 2% sugar in the sap we need to remove 43 gal of water from 44 gal of sap to leave 1 gal of pure maple syrup.

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more large bottles

I received notice today that my larger bottles (375 ml, 12.7 fl oz) will be arriving late tomorrow. I will bottle some Friday morning and will be able to ship them Saturday and Monday. However, neither day’s shipments would arrive by Christmas. My projections are based on the shipment actually arriving when scheduled. If they come in early tomorrow, I will bottle some tomorrow and could ship Friday. Even then, delivery by Christmas would be questionable. I will post non here and add the count of how many I get bottled when I finish each day. However they can be delivered in time for a special treat for New Years Eve.

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I tried to order more empty bottles from my supplier back in August for the larger Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup but they were out of stock. Then for the last 4 weeks I’ve been trying to find a supplier who has them in stock. The only one I found wanted 3x what I normally have to pay for them so I did not order. Then yesterday I found a place in California that showed 288,000 of them in stock but they were closed at the time. I called when they opened today, but it turned out they will only sell by the full truckload. That would be 400 cases per pallet x 30 pallets, each case has 6 bottles (72,000). That is plus freight, I declined. Then I tried my normal supplier again. They still did not have them, but do finally have a shipment arriving on or about Dec 20. I placed my order with them. This means, once I sell the one remaining bottleĀ  (375 ml) of bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, I will not be able to sell any more of that size until late December at best, maybe early Jan. The good news however is that I still have a decent supply of the 200 ml bottle, and if I run low, I have hundreds more of those bottles and the next batch should be ready soon. Testing starts next week to determine if the taste is right yet.

72,000 bottles would be far too many for me, for sure