FOR SALE: Used Revolution Evaporator

The Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup Company is selling their old evaporator!
Leader Revolution front pan and Algiers Flue Pan and Steam-away complete!
 
This Oil fired (#2 fuel oil) stainless steel evaporator has many more seasons of life to give, and it will cover all your syrup making needs in one full-sized rig at a fraction of the cost. See more photos below and send us an email here to make an appointment:
 
Great for entry level or for the next-level-up sugar maker!
 
Here’s what you get:
Arch, 6’w x 16’lg with firebrick
Rear oil stack, has a wide base with 20 feet of stack.
Steam-away unit, 6’w x 10’lg, interior light, blower, acrylic view-ports and float-box 
Steam-away hood, 6’w x 10’lg, with sliding access doors.
Flue-pan, 6’w x 10’lg, float-box and site glass, made by Algier Co.
Revolution style Front Pan, 6’w x 6’lg, with float-box and draw-off pipe.
Steam hood for over syrup pan, 6’w x 6’lg with Plexiglas flip-down sides.
Various connective piping
Many extras, please contact us for details
 
$4,800.00
You haul.

Spring Weather Whiplash

Hello everyone …

The weather hasn’t cramped our style, but winter sure can wear on. Spring spout pulling on our farm commenced six days ago and we have another 4 – 6 days to go before we wrap up the 2019 season. Today’s snow storm, which carried the potential to drop a foot, produced the perfect reason to take a break. So here’s a little update:

Here’s an important facebook post from the IRRRB about Business Energy refit program featuring the Sawtooth Maple Syrup companies new Evaporator.

There have been some fabulous days to be working outside. Spring observations show Blood-root making it’s appearance along with fiddle head ferns. Birds of many varieties not normally seen in the winter watch us as we scurry through the forest racing the black-fly bloom.

What’s most obvious however, is the rush of water in the creeks and valleys that we work. Wednesday was a day spent working a hillside facing the Poplar River. Quite the roar pervading our minds to the tune of a spring rush and the onset of summer.

Enjoy this little video I shot a few years ago of the Cascade River storming it’s way down to Lake Superior. Illustrated with music by Kenny Logins and Jim Messina – “Watching the River Run”. Enjoy your weekend!

Adapting to the Harvest

Our weather has and continues to be cooperative. Even though our temps have plummeted to teens and single digits at night, the weather also allows us to take much needed rest between the runs. And Wednesday (3/27) looks to be the beginning of a big run of sap.

As of today (3/26) the current sugar content to date has jumped to 3.0 and we have nearly made 1,000 gallons of maple syrup over the course of the last four boils. Dark Amber has been the dominant grade since we started, a very mapley taste and aroma with a delicate finish, like butterscotch.

Our biggest news for 2019? We took delivery on a new and fantastic evaporator (see above). We received it in January when the temps were brutally cold and installed it over the course of the months that we tap trees and prepare the sugarhouse for harvest. And now, we are making maple syrup!

In other news … we are excited about a newly released beverage featuring our genuine Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup Company organic maple syrup. It was developed by Duluth Cider in Duluth Minnesota and can be enjoyed at their new cidery in Duluth.

That’s all for now and thanks for checking in.

We interrupt Spring to bring you the return of Winter.

At least for northern Minnesota we are indeed experiencing a repeat of earlier season weather. However for the Sawtooth Maple Syrup gang there hasn’t been much of an interrupt – we never did got off our snowshoes.

Hello everyone, here is our sugarbush update!

We have indeed been making pure maple syrup, and the lovely bottle shown below is evidence of what we have been making. This sample was pulled off the pan on Friday (Apr13) and is a medium amber with an incredible flavor I call “immaculate maple”, and graced with the color of a fine Cognac! Click the image to get the full experience.

For those interested in the finer details, the sugar content (s.c.) was at 3.2 on April 13th and has been averaging 3 throughout the season. Our highest s.c. recorded for 2018 was on April 10th at 3.6 and our lowest was 2.1 on March10th. We have had five boils since March producing an estimated 60% Dark Amber. It’s a popular color you know …

Yes it has been a long season, even though for some or most sugar makers the sugaring season hasn’t really started. We expect to see real results this week as the temperature trend is swinging up to the low to mid forties for daytime highs and freezing temps at night – perfect!

On another note, I owe a heart-felt apology to the Yellow-Bellied Sap Sucker. In my last post I reported some of the issues we were experiencing in the field. Namely the bird bites on our spouts and we discovered the real culprit to be the Hairy Woodpecker (see below). Seems our white spouts have been mistaken for bits of suet (my thinking). We really don’t know for sure what’s driving them to hammer out hundreds of spouts. We’ll take any hypothesis you may have and a solution to the problem will get you rewarded with a pint of the above “immaculate maple” syrup. At any rate, I’m sure the sap-sucker is relieved to be acquitted of all charges.

Though there seems to an extension of  Winter, we don’t really believe spring has been cancelled and with this recent snowstorm, the trees will be on ice for a little longer making our season a little sweeter. Stay positive on your sugaring front, my gut tells me we’re all going to have a wonderful harvest.

Carry on regardless!

-Greg

 

The Word is the Bird!

“The birds are back!” came the call over our text message communication thread.

Look closely at the side of the spout. Holes are pecked by the sap suckers causing vacuum leakage.

Of the many challenges to bringing in the harvest, it is the pests we encounter that makes the relatively short season a bit of a trick. In this case it’s the Yellow-bellied Sap Sucker causing our headaches this season, and they don’t like our spouts in the trees. It’s not just one or two spouts to be replaced but up to 30 in any particular section. However, the trouble is short lived, maybe a week of inconvenience and the birds move along.

At this point the squirrels have been easier to deal with.

 

In production news: Sugar making on Sunday (3/18) produced 275 gallons of finished syrup … a very mapley flavor as it came out of the pan. So we are off to a good start!

Day to day the sun’s intensity can be felt as we struggle through the snow checking lines and tuning the sugarbush to its best ability. The snow pack is deep, but is also transitioning from a hard pack to a mashed potato consistency. The question before donning our gear and tackling a section of the sugarbush may be: “Snowshoes? Or no Snowshoes?”

You may think with some of the warmer days we have experienced there would be more of a sap run, but the trees have not wanted to budge here on the shore of NE Minnesota.

These transitional days from winter to spring are the most difficult, but we’ll find our rhythm once we are past the start-up pain and get on with the business of producing 100% pure maple syrup.

Rest assured, Spring is Within Reach – Our 2018 Maple Syrup Season Update

Often, and I mean quite often while running the usual grocery store, gas station and hardware store errand in town (be it Lutsen or Grand Marais), I get asked:

“How’s the Maple Syrup?”

To which I reply (in January and February): “It’s still in the trees, I hope.”

It’s common to be asked by our neighbors who know us and our woods-work these wonderful questions. And we love to answer them because we are so passionate and exited about our sugar farming. So how is the maple syrup? Well there is some exiting news to talk about in this blog and forthcoming blogs; about what’s new in the sugar bush, and what’s cool about our current and new customers.

In January (on the 23rd  precisely) Chris, Kirstin, Calvin, Ian and Greg charged up their drills, shouldered their tap packs, rallied the dogs and marched out of the sugar house to begin the task of tapping 24k+ trees. We can attest that there have been some incredibly beautiful winter days and some, well, down right exotic days. Brrrr!

Below watch Kirstin at work tapping maple trees.

As of today 99% of the sugar bush is fully tapped and we are in the preparation stage to our seasonal harvest.

Click to see full image

Dropping off the tank at the sugar bush. A big thanks to local mechanic Joe Hall … Like a boss!

Click to see full image

Installation complete, the new sap tank in place. Now to the roof …

One new addition is here!

You may be interested to know of the arrival of a new 4800-gallon sap tank. It was delivered two days ago and installed on Thursday the 22nd.

 

 

 

In the coming days Chris and Calvin will finish the Sugar House extension with a metal-roofed canopy that will cover both the 4500 tank and the new 4800 sap tank.  Hook up the plumbing and “Bob’s-your-Uncle!”.  Now we’re talking capacity!

As we progress to the cusp of Spring, transfer lines will be connected and some lines will be sloped and then the whole network will be tested together under vacuum. Like tuning a giant orchestra for the big concert!  The sugarhouse will get some reorganizing, the membranes will be installed in to our Reverse Osmosis (RO) machine. The evaporator will be given a final vacuuming, assembled, polished and hooked to the plumbing and finally the tanks will be washed diligently while we await that first call of our 2018 season: “SAPS RUNNIN’!”

If I may suggest … On your next visit to Minnesota’s northland, stop by Wild Country’s little store for a bottle of Pure Maple Syrup and other fun things – it’s always open! Snowmobilers can easily zip off the State Trail on their way up or down the shore to visit our farm – the trail crosses our driveway. If you like snowshoeing there’s plenty of trail blazing to be done (and appreciated) just send us a note if you’re up for the task. I’d keep the cross-country skiing to the trails but after, come enjoy our farms marvel of tubing and taps while you snack on a maple caramel or pick up a bottle of Minnesota north shore country maple syrup.

As I write the maple blog today, abundant snow-fall graces our North Shore again adding another foot or two to our snowpack. The winter won’t be long lived as we hear often the Pileated woodpecker drumming and the Chickadees singing their spring song to the increasing sun’s intensity and the longer days. Life is on the way again in our frozen land – Just give it a couple weeks and the trees will be awake giving their sweet nectar that we will transform into a delicious treat to top your pancakes or lattes!

Tapper Greg

Putting to bed 2017 sugaring season

Pulling spouts

As we worked to conclude our season pulling spouts from trees and washing the lines and such. The weather, uncooperative as it has been this spring, did not change it’s on-and-off performances. Is it winter or are we going to enjoy Bloodroots and Spring Beauties? Not so much, we got all flavors. But the final tap was pulled and the final line was washed Sunday evening April 30th and just in time to beat the next weather event – which fizzled – and black fly season.

Our season was good, yielding a quart of maple syrup per tap. We like that, and the syrup though not overly abundant like in years past, had spectacular flavors!

Here’s where to buy it: Wild Country Maple Syrup

Up Next:
May 20th, Minnesota Maple Syrup Producers Association (MMPSPA) meeting in Two Harbors, Minnesota

Enjoy!

Michael Baker of Wild Country Maple Syrup pulls the final spout of the 2017 season!

Ta-Da! Season Finale …

Quite a season as we perform our finale for 2017. It’s hard to quit when the sap keeps flowing, but all good things come to an end.

Looking back over the daily journal for 2017, this season proved to be the earliest on record starting our first boil on February 19. Our conclusion was April 14th. Not a record breaking season for us, but we made really great tasting syrup. The majority of the maple syrup we produced being Dark Amber (Grade A).

The last phase of our season, is preparation for the 2018 season; Line cleaning!

If you are reading this, are a local and looking for a short-term job working in our sugarbush. Please contact us. Must be physically fit and able to carry a water-pack weighing 35lbs.

Here is the Wisconsin Sap Report from Roth Sugarbush.

Waiting for the BIG flow …

Included video here – When changing the flow direction of the syrup across the pan, we draw off 15 gallons and change sides. Put it back in to the pan for finishing, wait a little bit and Bob’s your uncle …

There’s never a guarantee as to how much sap we’ll get in a day. Big flows are illusive and we’re hoping in the coming weeks it will hit. Temperatures forecasted look conducive!

Slow and steady wins the race …

Since April 1st we’ve been making a lot of Dark Amber – Grade A, and buttery flavored at roughly 325-350 gallons a day.

Sugar Content has been holding at 2.5, which is good. But could be better. The sugar sand has been nominal and our pan cleanings have escalated to an every other day thing.

Here’s the Sap report from Wisconsin, seems they’re on the end run. But we’re doing great here in NE Minnesota

Waiting for the Sap to Hit the Pan

To make today’s update when there is really not much to update, seems silly. However this is farming, and there’s always something that needs doin’, and that’s not silly.

The weather, in full winter glory with excellent temps (teens) and sunny days for enjoying late-late winter, has not been cooperating much in the way of sugaring. It’s been 14 days since we last boiled. We have passed through DST, St Patrick’s Day, and tomorrow Monday the 19th, is the Vernal Equinox – We welcome Spring with open arms and uplifted faces. Looking at our past journals, I see that last season we began our first boil on March 8th. This season, we started February 19th!

So we make meals, clean the sugarhouse, brush the dog and walk the lines. These doings are done in a preseason ritual and because of the hard-hard freeze we just endured, it’s like hitting a reset button (in my opinion) on the sugarbush. And then there were high winds and most recently a six-inch snowfall up here in the elevations.

Double bummer! A very large diameter Aspen, tall and aged, took a blast of wind from the northwest yanking over a healthy maple and it’s roots – Buggering a mainline and pulling out several lateral lines with their accompanying drop-lines.

High winds makes most of us cringe, but to a maple syrup farmer it is down right concerning. Invariably branches tumble on to sapping lines, but worse is to find a large and giving maple pulled up by her roots. Very sad! And then a game of strategy as to what to cut first (see photos below) like a giant Jenga game, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of a tree when releasing the strain.

 

The weather trend however, and at least for the next couple days will be climbing. If the sun comes out, the intensity will trigger a flow … and then there will be more to report as the sap hits the pan.

Here’s the latest Roth Sugarbush report for Saturday March 18th

Click to zoom

Overkill on the photos, but it was an event …

Function restored. That other tree will have to wait …