With the temperatures we’ve had this month, I’ve been holding off on packing more syrup. As soon as the daytime temperatures fall into the 60’s or lower I will be packing more dark syrup, my best selling grade, it just gets way too hot when packing, working over a 180F degree finisher then filtering the syrup into a canner set at 186+/- 1 degree F and metering out syrup as I fill jugs for sale.
I’m out of Amber syrup for packing more until the 2024 season, but I do have more dark to last until the next year. While I sell about 2 times as much Dark as I do Amber, I did run out of Amber , almost, I have some in jugs but no more to fill new jugs with. Hopefully next season I’ll get more Amber than I did this year, Time will tell. I could have easily used another 40 gal barrel full than I got this year. One thing that affects how much of any grade this time of year is how well my sales go at my one local outlet, and this year my sales there have been up about 250% over last year, and last year was up about 200% over the previous year. Infact the local outlet has had continual growth since I first started selling there over 10 years ago.
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!
Today I packed a few half gallons of very dark grade syrup. Very dark, strong taste is usually used in cooking, especially when basting meats, however a few people prefer it’s strong taste. If interested, order soon, it will not be available for very long.
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.
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.