ANTIGO, Wisc.—Keep an eye on the cake.
That was the message from filtering expert Jim Adamski of Adamski’s Sugar Bush of Antigo, Wisc. during a webinar on filtering techniques hosted by the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association in January.
“If you are using too much DE the cake will be solid as a rock,” Adamski said. “You will barely be able to push it out of the plate. If it’s hard like a stone and crumbles and breaks apart, you can tell you are using too much DE powder.”
Diatomaceous earth is the common filter aid sugarmakers use to help pass the syrup through the filter sheets and take out the gunk and sand.
Too little or too much can be perplexing for the sugarmaker.
The best way to tell if you got it right is when you break down the press, a nice beige colored cake is formed between the plates.
“If we’re not seeing a nice solid cake then we didn’t use enough DE powder in the process,” Adamski said. [ MORE ]
WESTBY, Wisc.—It’s a sellers market.Don’t squander this opportunity!
Last season we produced the biggest global syrup crop in history. Now that crop is almost sold out.
It seems the pandemic has been very good for maple consumption.
This has created a need for a good to above average crop in 2021 to satisfy demand. If we have a poor crop, “Katy bar the door!”
Let’s talk about price. [ MORE ]
SABINSVILLE, Pa.—Big improvements at Pennsylvania's biggest sugarbush with new CDL sap silos.
Terri & Terry Patterson took over ownership as the 4th generation sugar makers of Patterson Farms in Sabinsville, Pa. after Terry’s father, Richard, passed away in 2017.
Richard would be proud to see them keeping his legacy alive by accomplishing plans he had for the farm before he passed, as well as bringing some of their own ideas to the business.
Patterson Farms is the largest producer in Pennsylvania with more than 80,000 taps.
As an effort to maximize efficiency they recently purchased three 12’x20’ CDL Stainless Steel Sap Silos.
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WESTON, Vt.—There’s money to be made in selling sap and leaving the syrup making to someone else.
“There is opportunity in sap-only enterprises,” said Chris Lindgren of UVM Extension who led an online seminar last month on the pluses and minuses of collecting the sap and letting someone else boil it.
“Sap-only businesses are less risky and there are less barriers to entry,” he said. “Selling sap is the easiest and lowest cost way to get started in the maple business.”
Lindgren is a sap collector himself, with approximately 700 taps spread out across three bushes in Weston, Vt. in the center of the state.
He said producers looking to get into the sap selling game should budget an investment of approximately $30 per tap, which will cover costs of a collection system, vacuum pumps, a generator or two, monitoring systems, transportation, reverse osmosis and structures.
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ISLAND POND, Vt.—Try beeswax.
Probably the biggest change a sugarmaker will have to make once they switch to organic is defoamer use.
Conventional defoamers do not qualify so the producer must find an all-natural replacement that both knocks down the foam and also does not affect taste.
Many sugarmakers use sunflower oil or other oils similar.
Sugarmaker Joe Russo who manages the massive 470,000-tap Sweet Tree Inc. operation in Island Pond, Vt. uses beeswax.
“It’s fantastic,” Russo told The Maple News.
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LONDON, Ont.—The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association is sponsoring a study on eliminating buddy syrup.
“There is a reason why this essential work has never been done before,” explains Bob Gray of OMSPA. “It is very difficult to do, requires state-of-the-art equipment and some very smart chemists to tease out the answers.”
Gray is owner and operator of Kemble Mountain Maple Products, a small family maple business in southern Ontario. He has served as Research Committee Chair for the OMSPA for nearly a decade.
Gray rallied interest among the OMSPA’s 500+ small maple business owners to support the three-part buddy study, all under the guidance of Dr. David Miller, a world-renowned chemist at Carleton University.
“The intent of this study was to see if it was possible to identify a chemical precursor to maple sap becoming buddy,” says Dr. Miller.
It’s all about microclimate. [ MORE ]