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Happy New Year

Dave Klish

This past year certainly has been a rough ride for the whole world. With the Covid 19 vaccines now rolling out I sure hope things can return to more normal in a few months. Guesses are maybe 6-8 months for the US. In the meanwhile, forgo the big family get togethers, learn to Facetime those you love or some other non contact method until this all passes. Stay at home, or go for a long walk in the woods. It will give you a peaceful moment. If you are in snow country, try snowshoes or cross country skiing.

We will be in the woods a lot, starting next week we will begin making repairs on our tubing system. We need to replace all taps and fittings in the lines, remove trees and downed limbs from the lines and then start tapping. We try to be tapped by late Jan or very early Feb. Then we will be ready for the sap to start flowing. The sap flows when the weather conditions are right. First we need freezing weather, followed by a warm day. The best flows seem to happen when the temperatures fell to 27F or colder, then 40-45F during the daytime. If the temperature stays above freezing for overnight, sap will flow for 2.5 or 3 days. Then we need another freeze thaw cycle for it to flow again. The more freeze thaw cycles we get in succession the higher the sap sugar % gets. Our long time average is between 2.0 and 2.1%, a few years ago it was the lowest we ever had, the season’s average was 1.25%. Since the finished sugar % in pure maple syrup is 69%, the lower the sap sugar % the more sap it takes to make a gallon of maple syrup. At 2% it takes 43.5 gal of sap, at 1.25% sugar in the sap it takes 69.6 gal of sap to yield 1 gal of syrup. Thus it not only needs to boil longer which also consumes more firewood. We do use Reverse Osmosis (RO, pronounced R-O) too. The sap goes thru that first, to get it at least 8 and up to 12% sugar then the rest is done by boiling. The characteristic flavor of pure maple syrup is developed on the bottom of the pan, as it caramelizes.

The length of the season varies widely. In the past years, since 2003, when we started to make maple syrup for more than just our immediate family the seasons have been as short as about 15 days and as long as 7 weeks. Generally the later in the year we get first sap, the more likely the season will be shorter. Our latest first boil was March 28, and it ended April 14th that year. As a general rule however, our greatest period of sap flow in usually the last week in March and the first 4-5 days in April and the average length of our season is between 3 & 4 weeks.

Time will tell what 2021 will bring. I do have help fixing lines from generally 3 people, first my brother In law (BIL) and my oldest son (ROB) along with his significant other (RO pronounced row). Since they work during the week, their help is usually a Saturday or 2. All 3 also assist with the boil, my BIL most every day and Rob and RO on weekends.

When Covid first started moving in in March 2020, I told all help to stay home and I did all boiling, finishing, packing in SS barrels or in retail jugs and bottles by myself. I could not risk getting Covid and bringing it home to my wife who since she had Chemo and Radiation for cancer back in 2008, has had an extremely low white cell count ever since.

This year I’ll repeat the same. Helpers will work different areas of the sugar bush (maple woods) but I’ll boil solo. Hopefully this will not be necessary in 2022. The boiling etc. goes much smoother and faster when 2 are working together in the sugarhouse.

Right now my inventory is very low, I finally sold out of the 38 gallons of Amber I made in 2020 but I still have 1 barrel of dark left, out of the 7 barrels made in 2020 (each SS barrel holds 26.5 gal. In addition to those 7 barrels I also packed about 25 gal into retail containers during last season. In 2020 I ended up with no Very Dark. Most of my dark was on the lighter side of that grade. I had batches of 47%, 43%, 39% and 35%. Those are % of light transmission %LT) thru a very specific test vial. 49% down to 25% is dark as long as it had good flavor. Regardless of % LT it is commercial if the taste is not appropriate for that grade. Commercial can never be sold retail. If I ever get commercial it can only be sold to re-processors in bulk. Fortunately I’ve made no commercial in years.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Dave Klish

As the Christmas season rapidly ascends on us, let’s all pray for those less fortunate. To all from those sick with Covid 19, to the health care workers, the first responders and to all who desperately long to get together with friends and family. This is the season we all want to be comforted with family, but we have realized we must remain with our immediate household to help slow the spread of Covid 19. While we don’t want to stay apart, we realize it is the only way we can all get together with those we love in the future. If we all adhere to the medical adviser’s guidelines we will get together again, in good time.

God, we pray you help all in need and send your Son to enter the hearts of all who need Him in this very troubling time. While the whole earth is suffering this pandemic, we must realize all God has done for us who have not fallen to this disease.

I hope you and all your family do well, stay safe and healthy. May 2021 become the year Covid 19 is put to rest once and for all.

My immediate family and my extended family have so far escaped this disease, I hope everyone reading this is well and has lost no one close to them in the year we are rapidly saying goodby to. We pray that even more vaccines become available and that the whole world’s population can get a vaccine that truly works wonders.

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Down to the wire

Dave Klish

It is close to the last day for ordering to be relatively sure the order will arrive before Christmas. I will need to get the order by 12/13 or 12/14 to be able to ship the next day. Orders after that may or may not arrive by Christmas. Sales have been real good all year and I’m very low on stock. I have run out of all Golden syrup, only have a few half pints in Amber, I’m out of quarts except a few in Dark and I have no very dark.

Year to date my sales have far exceeded all previous years, likely because of Covid 19. With far more people working from home, and not having to commute, they are making breakfast at home and many use maple syrup with that breakfast. I’m eagerly looking forward to the 2021 season and hope it starts early or I’ll be out of all my syrup except the bourbon barrel aged. While that is my best seller, it is not what some people want. While some use it like traditional maple syrup, most only use it to sweeten coffee, as an ice cream topping, to baste meat while cooking, to add flavor to recipes in cooking and other uses but not as a pancake, waffle, french toast or other cereal or fruit topping.

Order soon to get your order in before I run out until the 2021 season. That could start as early as mid February or as late as the tail end of March or even early April. It all depends on the weather. For the season to start I need freezing nights and warm days. Once it starts it can run for 2 or sometimes 3 days without a freeze, but that is somewhat rare to get real good sap flow for over a day and a half until mid season. The season then ends when the trees open their buds. A season can be any where from just over 2 weeks to over 6 weeks and a couple have lasted 7-8 weeks. 3-5 is most typical. Mother nature is in charge of that.

I still have a good inventory in my Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. It has proven for the last 3 years to be my best selling syrup and that is partially why I’ve run out or very low on my other syrups. I used them to make more bourbon aged.  That is a process I need to start 6-9 months ahead depending on the size of the bourbon barrel I can get. A 10 gal needs 6-7 months to age and a 15 gal needs 9-10 months to age in order for it to attain the degree of flavor my customers have shown they like. To date the largest barrel I’ve used has been 15 gal and I far prefer 10 gal. However the 10’s are hard to find, most distilleries use 15, 20 and all the way up to 53 gal. I can only use a barrel once, because the flavor has been diluted too much for a second batch. Each time I start for example a 15 gal batch (my last one was 15) that is 30 half gallons or 60 qts that are not there for regular syrup sales.

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Order early for Christmas orders

Dave Klish

While I ship the next day for all orders received by 6:00pm eastern, the post office is not as good. As Christmas nears they fall behind. If you order by December 15 you should be able to get delivery before Christmas anyplace in the lower 48 plus Hawaii and to much of Alaska. Remote areas of Alaska can take much longer.

I will keep my inventory up to date as we get closer to Christmas. When orders are completed for those placed in the online store the items are automatically reduced in the shown inventory , I do take some of the inventory to put on the shelves at my local retail outlet. I remove those from inventory on the day I take them to that store.

By placing your order early you are better guaranteed to get what you want, I may run out of some sizes before the 201 season starts sometime in Feb or March 2021.