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

Maple Sugaring in Lutsen Rebroadcast on Fox 21 Duluth

Out of town, out of state or just out of your mind (like I am) and you missed last nights broadcast on Fox 21 in Duluth, here it is again in living color … “really great presentation about our sugarbush and Wild Country Maple Syrup!”

Follow this link:

Maple Syrup Producing on the North Shore by Brittney Merlot of Fox 21 KQDS Duluth

Enjoy!
Greg
ps: I’d be happy to perform that sap dance, if you buy a pint of maple syrup!

TV Sweet Treat!

Hello everyone, here’s our sugarbush update for Sunday April 2nd:

It’s been a busy week for sugaring. Big runs these last few days have brought us to 50% our seasonal crop. “Doing well!”  I’d say … and the sap keeps flowing!

Brittney Merlot from Duluth’s KQDS Fox 21 TV News, interviews Carrie Baker of Wild Country Maple Syrup – Click the picture to zoom –  because it’s really cute. Very fun!

This past Thursday, we got a visit from Brittney Merlot, Meteorologist of KQDS Fox 21 in Duluth. Northland folks are in for a treat this evening to see and hear all about our maple sugaring from the tree to the bottler.

I’m thinking this will be cool and not embarrassing because every time I get in front of the camera I go blah, blah, blah. It was exciting to have a Duluth TV station visiting us and Brittney was so nice and accommodating about interviewing during our seasonal business schedule.  I’m sure everyone else did great, especially our partners, Wild Country Maple Syrup. We’re really excited for them because they’ve worked so hard to build their business.

Anyhow let me know how the program goes, we don’t have TV here and of course, we’ll be busy boiling!

Here’s the Sap Report from Roth Sugarbush in Wisconsin.

Enjoy your week!

Stalled and On Call

A bit of a broken record, I know, we wait for the weather to become conducive to sugaring.

However this past week we boiled, on Tuesday.

Mostly Medium Amber with a strong “Mapley” flavor. Sugar content of the sap was 2.4%. The one unusual part of the day’s boil was the temperature for drawing off finished syrup at the proper gravity and brix. 218 degrees! The barometric pressure 30.22, and humidity at 49%. Would elevation be a factor too? I’m sure.

Anyhow, a couple hundred gallons later and we are back in a holding pattern. This coming week’s weather looks more promising.

Here’s the Roth Sugarbush sap report from Wisconsin, March 23rd!

If you are a maple syrup producer here on the North Shore from Duluth to Grand Portage, shoot me an update via our contact page. We’d enjoy reporting notes about what’s going on in your sugarbush whether you have a bag or bucket on a tree, or a few thousand taps. Just remember to include your sugarbush name, the number of taps you manage and what you’re cookin’! Other fun observations welcome too, like humming bird migration, moose visits, repairs from wind, ice or squirrel …

Here’s a repost of our sugarbush video, and may the sun and the weather be ever in your favor …

 

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 …

Raw Report …

“Baby it’s cold outside!”

Though the cold snap is somewhat of a nice hiatus from our sugaring duties, we’d much rather be collecting and boiling away.

But, you may be interested in hearing the sap report from Wisconsin (about a minute of your time). It’s always fun to hear how our brothers and sisters in sap are fairing.

Get it here by following this link to Roth Sugarbush Sap Report

Enjoy!

High Winds and Single Digit Temps

High winds and single digit temperatures put a stop to our production today.  And the colder weather trend may hold for more than a week.

Greg and Marianne spending a steamy day at the pan.

We had a good boil yesterday (Tuesday) that brought our running total to 995 gallons of finished syrup. The sugar content of the sap was at 2.2, a solid 40:1 ratio. We made mostly dark amber and a little bit of medium. The steam in the sugarhouse was ridiculous at times. It just wouldn’t abate and most likely was related to the high winds and down-drafts tumbling about the rafters.

After lunch I poured off a quarter mug of dark amber in to my coffee mug; really excellent taste and a good pancreatic surge for the afternoon.  I also observed very little niter in the draw off buckets which says we haven’t hit the main part of the season yet. And more importantly very little scale if any in the main pan.

 

Radar image of Monday night thunderstorms.

Monday we had weird weather (again) – Rain in the day and thunderstorms in the night – the sap flow was moderate through out, and we collected enough to make five drums worth on Tuesday.

The question of the week by the way, came from Colleen of St. Paul asking if our syrup is Vegan?  Absolutely!  We are certified organic, and that means we use no animal products in our processes like defoamers during the boil. We use safflower oil.

Also Tuesday, we had a nice visit from folks on vacation who just wanted to catch the action at the pan. Thanks for stopping in Peter and Nabeda.

All for now and enjoy this video short of the winds battering the steam a way from the evaporator stack. What an interesting day!

-Greg

Pileated work day

Everyday is a work day in the sugarbush. We had some heavy wind come through a few days back, and there was some concern about trees (and their limbs) pinning lines to the ground.

So far so good … no blown boosters from the freeze either.

But there is a wonderful benefit to hiking the lines besides the exercise; Wildlife! We’re birders for sure and we enjoy all species that migrate through the bush or make it their home here in the boreal forest.

So walking back down the line I happened upon this female Pileated woodpecker hunting grubs – or just hammering a tree because it feels good.

Enjoy!