||Spring 2014 Update
syrup production season ended in the second week in April. It was
interesting and unusual, perhaps the most difficult sugaring season in
our 39 years here. As it has been in the past, our determination to
avoid predicting the season was once again prudent. At best there was a
short crop this year. So what happened? In late February the nights
were frequently below 10° and that weather pattern continued well into
March. Those really cold nights delayed sap flow until noontime or
after. Instead of getting sap flows for six to eight hours, this year a
little sap flowed for just two or three hours. Instead of getting real
sap runs, we got what we called drizzles of sap. Sometimes it took a
few days to get enough sap to boil into syrup. The weather played havoc
with syrup grades this year. The color was consistently darker than
normal throughout the season. We made awesome flavored syrup but not
light enough for us to grade it as light amber. In our minds, the very
best flavored syrup was mid-season dark amber. It was perhaps the best
flavor of the past few seasons, including those seasons in which we had
made light amber syrup.
We were fortunate to have plenty of sap to boil on both days of our
Maple Weekend Open House. We appreciate the many visitors who came to
smell the aroma, taste the various samples, experience the excitement,
and enjoy the self-guided orchard tour. There were new things to see
and do on the tour and children had a great opportunity to run off
their maple cotton candy highs. Some visitors got to observe turkey
flocks and even a number of deer. We love to answer visitor questions
and to explain the maple story during the Open House.
On March 20th Meg and I were honored by a special visit from our US
Senator, Jeanne Shaheen. She stopped by to help kick off our Maple
Weekend Open House. Senator Shaheen talked with us about our energy
saving equipment, the maple season to date, and the recently passed
Farm Bill with its provisions for sugarmakers. In 1998, then-Governor
Shaheen visited our sugarhouse and tapped a tree to celebrate the start
of maple season in New Hampshire. During her visit this year, she paid
us a great compliment when she autographed one of our sap buckets with
the inscription “Keep producing the best maple syrup in New Hampshire.”
Thank you, Senator Shaheen!
So what is next at Mapletree Farm? Clean up, of course! We remove every
tap (850); wash the tubing (all 30,000 feet of it) and the buckets
(only 15), clean all the tanks (13), and clean and disassemble the
evaporator. These tasks take about a month or more. We also are cutting
next season’s firewood in between the cleaning tasks so it can dry over
the summer months.
Earlier in this message I wrote about the short crop during the
production season. Weather and temperatures in this area were never
quite right for good sap flows. We get one opportunity each year to
make maple syrup and that is during those few weeks when the
temperatures are right for sap to flow. This typically occurs between
the end of February and early April. Unlike some farm crops there is no
possibility of a second crop. Once favorable weather conditions have
ended with the onset of higher temperatures we must wait until next
year’s season to make more maple syrup. “Short crop” is a description
used by farmers to indicate a smaller than normal crop. To conserve the
amount of syrup we have for our customers, we will use less of this
year’s crop in making confectionary maple products like maple cream,
candy, coated nuts, and crystals. Maple syrup is our number one product
and we hope our conservation effort will allow us to have maple syrup
for sale most of the year.
We anticipate that New Hampshire may switch to the new International
Grade Standards next year. Vermont has already done so. Eventually all
maple producing states and Canadian Provinces will be required by the
IMSI (International Maple Syrup Institute) to use the new International
Grade Standard. Briefly the purpose of the new grading system is to
simplify grades of syrup and to standardize grading across the
industry, in both USA and Canada.
We appreciate all of you who have visited our Web Site. It is
heartwarming to receive your compliments and we always welcome your
feedback. We will continue keeping you informed about what is happening
here at Mapletree Farm and with the industry.
Please plan ahead for our 40th Anniversary Open House on Maple Weekend
in March, 2015. The celebration will either be March 21st & 22nd or
28th & 29th. Watch for confirmation of the date on our Web Site.
to Mapletree Farm. We have been producing
NH-made maple products for over 30 years from our sugarhouse in East
Concord, New Hampshire. Making maple
syrup is a craft
requiring skill, knowledge and an eye for perfection.
practices passed down through the generations with the latest
technology available allows us to make exceptional maple products, with
a difference that you can taste.
Maple makes a great
gift. We ship our products all over the world, and will be
to work with you on your order whether you are interested in a
gift for yourself, a loved one, or for corporate promotions.
hope you come by and visit us during sugaring season to see our
operation and our maple products. You can also
our products page to see the variety of authentic maple products
Meg and Dean Wilber
This year's Open House will be on March 22 & 23, 2014.
Hours: 10am to 4pm.
We Hope To See You There!
Visit Concord's best-kept maple secret! You'll be able to:
- Get free samples
of syrup, coated nuts, sugar on snow, and now maple cotton candy
the sugar house in operation
- Learn how syrup
- Watch the sap
flow through hundreds of feet of tubing
a self-guided walking tour of the orchard and woodland
up on maple products
for the whole family!