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A question for those who buy my bourbon barrel aged maple syrup

Dave Klish

I’ve been doing a lot of business selling my bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, some even buy larger quantities at a time.

I recently got to wondering if there would be enough interest in customers to sell case lots at a slight discount. Is the interest there. At the sugarhouse I’ve sold full cases a few time and twice so far I’ve shipped that amount in one shipment, but I always had to repack those larger shipments in large flat rate USPS boxes. A large flat rate box, will not safely hold a full case worth. I have a reseller who is buying the larger amounts and I came up with a way to cut their cost. The idea came when I bought my last few reorders of the empty bottles I pack that syrup in. They put 5 or six cases of bottles in a large rather flimsy box that looks like a gorilla handled it when the shipment arrives, but I have not had even a single broken bottle in any of those shipments, the foam peanuts that surrounded each case did their job.

I will be packing the shipments in heavy duty boxes with plenty of space for foam packing peanuts to protect the shipment.

If I get enough feed back saying yes, I will set this up in the near future. To leave a comment you can either post a comment on this site or email me directly: dave@cnymaple.com

Thank you for any feedback.

Dave

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Last sap

Dave Klish

The last of my 2019 season sap was boiled today. The pans are still full. Next I need to drain the back pan into a barrel I have, then pump permeate (the pure water my RO removed from the sap) into the head tank and is then boiled in the back pan while the front pan continues to boil sap into syrup.. Then start the fire again. As the front pan needs more sap it is added from that barrel and as it boils down syrup is drawn off. When the barrel is emptied the fire is allowed to burn out. Once the fire is out the remaining contents of the front pan are drained out and pumped into the finisher (propane fired). The last of the syrup of the season is then boiled down to the proper density in the finisher, filtered and either packed into retail containers or packed into SS barrels.

Next comes the woods, the taps all get pulled and the tubing is all cleaned before putting it all to bed until next season.

We then need to make plans for next year. We plan to tap the rest of the tapping size trees around the sugarhouse and have them all on vacuum for the 2020 season.

We had a great 2019 season and would like to thank everyone who contributed to that success, from my oldest son (Rob) and his good friend Dennis, Rob’s wife Jodi, my grandsons Ryan and Logan who helped tap, fix lines and/or helped at the sugarhouse on the maple weekend open houses. Also my brother-in-law (Dave Moon) who was there every day thru preparation, cleaning the sugarhouse and all of the equipment and he helped boil, prepare firewood and haul load after load of sap from the leased sugar bush to the sugarhouse and mostly to my wife (Joan) who without her help and tolerance for my passion none of this would have happened, without all of their help the season would not have happened. The days of being able to do it by myself are long gone or the size of the operation would be lots smaller.

Now we get ready for next year. From the fixing of lines, tapping collecting the sap, hauling the sap, boiling, clean up and changes for the next season, along with packing retail containers from large stainless steel barrels as that inventory gets low is a 12 month job.

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I can see the end (the end of the 2019 maple season that is)

Dave Klish

Based on the forecast it looks like this Saturday might be my last boil. We had a freeze this morning and will again tomorrow morning but then the temperatures get too warm. A freeze is possible next Wednesday but that will only help if the tree buds have not opened. Even then, with so many days in the 50’s and 60’s I’d need to run the pumps to pull all of the soured sap out of the lines and then wash the tanks again before I could collect any good sap.

Even if this Saturday is the end, We’ve had a good season, we have all 3 of the lighter grades, then only one that I have not gotten so far is the very dark. I didn’t make any very dark last year either. Some years I get the very dark as I do my last boil of the year, other years not, but that is by far the slowest selling grade.

I now have Golden, Amber and Dark packed, after the season is over I will pack more from stainless steel (SS) barrels to meet demand. In fact I repack again from SS barrels several times a year, as inventories sell down.

Right now in bourbon barrel aged maple syrup I have 2 barrels aging, one will be ready either late this month or as late as mid to late May. I still have a good quantity of the $12.00 size as of right now, but only 2 in the larger $20.00 size. I just failed to estimate how well the larger one would sell when I added that size and then I tried on my next order to get more of that size bottle but I couldn’t find it anywhere, unless I ordered a full tractor trailer load of just that one size, and then

I’d have had to pay freight all the way from California, build a larger warehouse too. 72,000 bottles that size fill a tractor trailer 53′ long semi. That was not going to happen. I would have never needed to buy more that’s for sure. Finally I got some of that bottle in early December when their long standing order arrived, from a distributor just 100 miles from here. I now need to order more for my next batch, I only got 8 dozen in and they are now gone. My next order will need to be much larger. It seems I sell the smaller size to people first trying the product but then they buy multiples of the larger size when they reorder.

In addition to my 2 barrels aging now, I will be filling another barrel in a few days, this time it will be a 15 gal barrel. The larger the barrel the longer it takes to age. I need to age a 5 gal barrel for 3-3.5 months, and a 10 gal for 6-7 months, I might need to age a 15 gal for 8-10 months, time will tell. It likely may not be ready for Christmas sales.

I guess I need to get up to my sugar bush lease now, it is now at 32 F, the pump needs to be fueled and started.

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Great week

Dave Klish

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)

Dave Klish

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.