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  •  Jacob Brown, with father Norman Brown, check a draw during a boil on Tuesday, April 3 at their farm in Benson, Vt. The Browns were at 1,000 gallons made off of 2,125 taps this season.

  •  Ernest Flanders of Flander's Brothers Maple in Fairfax, Vt. fills a drum during a boil on April 3. Tim Combs of Leader Evaporator was on hand to consult. The Flanders' have made 16 drums this season off 2,000 taps.

  •  Ernest Flanders in the sugarhouse during a boil on April 3 in Fairfax, Vt. The Flanders have made mostly dark grades this season.

  •  Jenna Baird and Jacob Powsner of Baird Farm in North Chittenden, Vt. check tanks on April 3. The Baird farm has made 5,000 gallons off 11,000 taps already this season and are on pace to match last year's big production totals of 6,400 gallons.

  •  Drum samples at Baird Farm in North Chittenden, Vt.

  •  Veteran sugarmaker Bob Baird of North Chittenden, Vt. checks his pump monitor on Tuesday April 3. Baird has an 11,000-tap pipeline that runs directly to the sugarhouse off a 10hp Nash pump.

  •  Bob Baird moves drums during a boil on April 3. Baird and other sugarmakers in Vermont are on pace for another strong season, perhaps matching last year's total of 1.98 million gallons.

  •  Jacob Brown and father Norman Brown fire during a boil on Tuesday night, April 3. The Browns are expecting a full crop but have been battling sugar sand issues and low sugar content all season, a common theme in Vermont this season.

  •  Sugarmaker Roger Rowe of Pittsford, Vt. offloads sap on April 3. Rowe said his season has been good but was worried about warm temperatures mid-week.

  •  Andy and Donna Hutchison of Mt. Pleasant Sugarworks in Leicester, Vt. Their dealership has been very busy this season. One quirk has been a sellout of hydrometers from sugarmakers looking to verify their suspected low sugar content in the sap, a big pro

Season Update #7: Vermont on a good pace; Crop should be another whopper

'We're on track for last year'

By PETER GREGG | APRIL 4, 2018


NORTH CHITTENDEN, Vt.—Vermont sugarmakers are on pace to make another big crop.

“We’re pretty much on track for last year and last year we had a good season,” said Jacob Powsner, of the 11,000-tap Baird Farm operation in North Chittenden, Vt.

“We are at the same gallon count right now as we were at this time last April,” he said on Tuesday.

The Baird Farm, operated by Robert Baird, daughter Jenna Baird and Powsner were at 5,000 gallons as of Tuesday.  Last year they made 6,400.

This week was looking good for production in Vermont, sugarmakers said.

“The last day or two we’ve been getting some really good runs,” said Darren Wadel, the woods manger for the 29,500-tap Goodwin & Son Maple operation in Enosburg Falls, Vt.  “We’re getting into the heart of our season.”

Wadel said the farm was at approximately 60 percent of a crop so far as of Tuesday.  He said most of his neighbors were ahead of that, with most claiming to be at 75 percent or more.

“I think a lot of people are pretty happy,” Wadel said.

Ernest Flanders in Fairfax, Vt. was also enjoying a good run this week.  

His farm, operated with brother Jerry, was at about 16 drums off their 2,000 taps.

Most of his syrup was darker grades, Flanders said on Tuesday.

“There’s not as much light but the flavor has been fabulous,” he said.

The family has been boiling nearly every day since February with few breaks.

“We haven’t had a week off since January,” Jerry Flanders said.

One common complaint in Vermont has been low sugar content in the sap.

At Mt. Pleasant Sugarworks in Leicester, Vt., the D&G and Lapierre dealership sold out of hydrometers to sugarmakers wanting to double check their sap.

“They knew it was bad but I think they wanted to know just how bad it really was,” said Donna Hutchison, co-owner of Mt. Pleasant.

Most sugarmakers were counting on a strong April to get them to a full crop.

Roger Rowe in Pittsford, Vt. said he was a little nervous about a warm front coming mid-week.

“The weather looks excellent if we can get through the next couple of days,” he said on Tuesday.

Norman Brown of 2,125-tap Brown’s Maple in Benson, Vt. said sugar sand was a problem in his sugarhouse.

“We were switching pans every three hours,” Brown said of his latest boils and the nitre build-up.  “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it that bad.”

Brown was still very happy with his season to date, hitting the half-gallon of syrup per tap mark on Tuesday night.

“We should hit 1,000 gallons today,” Brown said.

Vermont sugarmakers led the nation in producton last year with 1.98 million gallons made, according to USDA statistics.

In 2017, the United States production was 4,271,000 gallons, a modern day record, accoriding to the USDA.