EAST MONTPELIER, Vt.—A cascade of coronavirus cancelations has wiped out maple marketing but that hasn’t stopped the sap.
“We’ve had a great year, I think it's going to be the biggest season we ever had,” said Bruce Chapell of Templeton Farm Maple & Beef of East Montpelier, Vt. on Friday.
Chapell was hoping for one or two more good runs this week before the season quit, but was planning on reaching 1100 gallons on his 2,700 taps.
“We’re making very dark,” Chapell said. “It’s really good smooth flavor.”
Meanwhile, it has been an early shutdown for many sugarmakers in the central strip of the Maple Belt.
At Dry Brook Sugarhouse in Salem, N.Y. sugarmakers Kevin Keyes and Bob Chambers called it quits last weekend, coming up far short of their goal of 4,000 gallons they hoped to make this year.
“We only made 2,400,” Keyes said. [ MORE ]
HIGHGATE, Vt.—An ocean of sap came out of the trees in Vermont Sunday and Monday.
“I don’t think I've ever had a 24 hour run bigger than this,” Jeff Disorda of Benson, Vt. told The Maple News on Monday, March 9.
Disorda said he got 4,000 gallons of sap in less than 24 hours off his 1,500 taps.
Nearby in Shoreham, Vt. 2,500-tap sugarmaker Tim Hescock and his sap hauler Ken Vanhazinga were scrambling to keep up with the deluge.
“It started late last night and ran all night,” Hescock said.
He said an app on his phone told him the sap dumping pace on his releaser was churning so fast that he got up and ran to the sugarbush at 3 a.m. to get an extra tank in place to collect sap.
“We had one bush that was going at about 275 gallons per hour” he said. [ MORE ]
COLRAIN, Mass.—Producers were enjoying big runs and scrambling to get tapped this week.
"I'm calling it 'Sapageddon,'" said Howard Boyden of Conway, Mass. who hadn't had a sap run as big as this week's in all his years of sugaring.
"We made 233 gallons in almost 20 straight hours of boiling," Boyden said. "The sap ran straight through from Monday to Wednesday. We got 9,000 gallons of sap of off 3700 taps."
Producers from the Bay State were gathered at Sunrise Farms in Colrain, Mass. for the annual first tree tapping with state agriculture commissioner John Labeaux.
Keith Bardwell of Whately, Mass. enjoyed a similar big run this week.
"We're at .4 of a gallon per tap already and it's only the first week of March," he said. [ MORE ]
ATTICA, N.Y.—The early boilers have been filling barrels the past two weeks, getting a quick start on a 2020 season that has seen perfect sugaring weather.
“It’s being labeled as this season’s syrup but we made most of it 2019,” joked Greg Zimpher, who is the chief boiler at Merle Maple Farms in Attica, N.Y., discussing his crop so far.
Zimpher made 280 gallons on New Year’s Eve off of the 4,500 taps the farm had out since tapping on Dec. 23.
He made another 250 gallons on Sunday, Jan. 5, bringing the season total to 530 gallons so far.
“We had the sap so we might as well make it,” Zimpher said.
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CUTTINGSVILLE, Vt.—The trend of tapping early is still a thing.
“We’re just trying to capitalize on as many freeze/thaws as we can,” said Elliott Stewart of Stewart Maple in Cuttingsville, Vt., during a woods tour for The Maple News on Dec. 18.
Stewart, along with brother Tanner and hired man Wyatt Davenport, started tapping their woods on Dec. 2 and caught a few late fall runs, resulting in about 150 gallons of syrup made so far.
As of Dec. 18, the crew had 5,000 taps already drilled and expect to have their full 40,000 in by early February.
The first 5,000 taps have been productive Stewart said, gushing about 20,000 gallons of sap so far in December although with low sugar content of only 1 percent.
“We’re already at 1/3 of a pound per tap on those 5,000” Stewart said.
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LONGUEUIL, Que.—A late spring and cold temperatures did not slow down Quebec maple producers.
Quebec’s 11,300 sugarmakers made more than 159 million pounds of maple syrup this season, a dramatic increase of 41 million pounds over last year.
Quebec sugarmakers averaged 3.43 pounds per tap, according to the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, the industry trade association. Sugarmakers in the province put out 46.4 million taps this season.
Leading the way in regional production was the Chaudière-Appalaches region with 3,258 sugarmakers making 54,392,782 pounds, the QMSP reported. [ MORE ]
MARSHFIELD, Vt.—The season turned around in a hurry, with big sap runs finishing out what had been a sluggish season and making it into a winner for most.
Bruce Bascom of Bascom Maple Farms in Alstead, N.H. was watching his warehouse fill up as trucks loaded with barrels were lined up in his parking lot on Friday and Saturday for the farm’s annual open house.
“I think the U.S. is up,” Bascom said. “I think the crop is up from a year ago.”
Bascom was paying $2.10 per pound for the top three table grades and $1.80 for commercial grade.
New York in particular was stand-out state, and seemed to have maybe the best crop in history. [ MORE ]