2019…a great year in the sugar shack!!!
2019 was a great year in the sugar shack. When it was all said and done we processed 4,527 gallons of sap resulting in 73.5 gallons of high quality maple syrup. Like all farming, the production of maple syrup is weather dependent and while not a great year weather-wise, 2019 was clealy "good enough" - especially when combined with the process improvements we've been chasing.
Through our history with maple syrup we’ve tried to stay abreast of (if not lead) efforts in the industry to improve operational efficiency and product quality. Last year (2018) was our first year with the RO (reverse osmosis) machine which significantly improves our storage capacity and shortens our cooking (evaporation) time. In 2019 we added a UV (ultra-violet) process to improve the quality and shelf-life of the sap as it’s processed thru the sugar shack. It’s a lot of fun to combine new technologies and our ongoing love of a wood-fired evaporator.
In addition to those “inside” improvements perhaps the biggest change this year was “outside” (in the field) where we expanded our use of 3/16 inch sap collection lines and enhanced our collection and transport system with the addition of 1,400 ft of 1 inch transport lines…to a single collection tank in the field…plus a deep-well "submersible" to pump sap 75 vertical feet (500 horizontal) to our storage facility outside the sugar shack. Throwing a switch on a pump in the field is a bit easier than umpteen trips in the ATV and/or tractor to haul sap up the hill.
Through it all we had a lot of fun…made a number of new (and enjoyed old) friends at our open house events…and we're already looking forward to what’s next. Speaking of which – how about some bourbon barrel aged maple syrup? Watch this space…but we’ve got an initial batch underway: maple syrup aging in a fresh bourbon barrel buried in a secret location on the farm!!!