COVID-19 has changed life dramatically for most of us around the globe. Many locations in the US are under lockdown including VT for all but essential businesses and workers. One thing it has not shut down is maple production and thankfully agriculture is considered an essential business by our government, as people need to eat. Our trees are running and we are working non stop to boil that maple sap into delicious maple syrup, natures healthiest sweetener. We will continue to produce the best quality maple syrup on the planet and ship it anywhere you are. We have certainly made adjustments and are not allowing visitors to the sugarhouse. We are producing with only three people and cannot afford for one of us to get sick.
Sorry to all of those who loved to visit the sugarhouse and fill their jugs with maple syrup that is fresh off the evaporator. We are shipping 2020 syrup right now so please find our syrup in local stores or online here. We have seen sales increase lately as I think many people home with their children are planning on making many more pancake breakfasts than normal! Let’s all do our part to get through this difficult time and stay healthy. Thanks for supporting our business.
As for the sugaring season things are going on the production front. We are at 9200 gallons which is .35 gallons per tap. By the looks of the extended forecast we should have at least a decent season production wise. We have spent a lot of time in the woods early on and our vacuum has been the tightest we’ve ever seen and it has made a difference for us. The sap has been running well on cold days and we have been keeping up with producers in warmer areas who usually jump way ahead of us through the first 2/3 of the season. Thanks to the weather and our tight vacuum I think we a poised to pass many lower elevation warmer bushes toward the end of the season, though one thing is for certain predicting what the maple sugaring season will do is nearly impossible. One reason tight vacuum helps on cold days is that the more leaks you have the more lines are frozen and cannot run until it gets quite warm. This can take days at times. We have learned a lot from our vacuum sensors and this is one of the big things we have found.
We actually invested in more sensors this season and added them to a pump house with 5500 taps along with a tank level sensor. The sensors create more work for us but we are reaping the benefits.
A lot of the improvements we have made over the past 3 years are really paying off, from adding another 10,000 gallon tank, to increasing our RO capability, to adding sensors or installing electric winches to lift our evaporator pans. These improvements have allowed us to work smarter, safer and more efficiently, while allowing us to spend time in the woods where we can really influence our production.
We do plan to increase our high brix ro capability to be able to match the speed of our evaporator more easily and run low sugar content sap to higher brix levels in one pass.
We have certainly had our fair share of problems this year but that is expected and we have been able to repair and overcome them pretty easily, though not always inexpensively. Our plow/ syrup delivery truck broke down and was costly. We have also had our RO go down, evaporator not start on the first boil, filter press pump fail, tracks on our 4 wheeler break, and sap pump lines and pumps fail to name a few. Filter press pumps and new tracks are pretty costly!! Thus is sugaring and if you are prepared, and can foresee potential problems and have a plan to fix them ahead of time you’ll be in a much better place. I am always trying to predict what problems we may have and to deal with and often what I identify as a potential issue is exactly what goes wrong, but by then we are ready for the issue.
Thanks again for all of your orders and good luck to everyone out there. Please stay healthy!