The season started early. There was a big run on Feb 28 that we missed. It was March 2 before we were fully tapped, which would have been fine the previous two years. Next year start tapping on Feb 15.
The warm weather in mid March was the end for a lot of people. Being in Marlow, we got another run in the cold weather at the end of the Month. The early stuff was light, and had a wonderful complex delicate flavor, I’d say the best we’ve ever made. The stuff at the end was grade B, black and strong maple flavor. (Note: Vermont grade B has an implication of off flavors. In New Hampshire the spec is only strong and dark, no off flavor allowed.) We kept some of both, for different purposes.
I don’t think the sap was as sweet this year as in prior years. We seemed to put in more sap per gallon of syrup than other years. I tapped half a dozen red maples this year, mostly when I needed a tree to hold up tubing and the available tree was a red maple. I don’t think I tapped enough to explain the lower sugar level. (I tapped a few silver maples by mistake in 2008. Their sap is not sweet, but there’s also almost none of it, so it didn’t actually affect the sweetness.)
I was able to get the tractor up the snowmobile trail this year for the first time. That let me add about 25 taps up there, which was good because the fence cut off a bunch of our Mack Hill Rd. taps.
We lost a lot of sap last year because I wasn’t here to bring it in before the buckets overflowed. This year I was here, but had to empty some buckets twice a day. Next year I want a gallon per tap of storage in the woods, and as much again up here. Then we can take a day off even during a good flow.
I pulled the last of the taps on April 12 and two or three trees were still running.