Another Season Done
Maple syrup season is officially finished for 2021. We called it a wrap the day after our last blog post. The sap was still running, but it had turned funky. You can't make good syrup with funky sap! We didn't make any Very Dark syrup last year, which was kind of a bummer since it is the favorite of many of our customers. And even late in the season this year we couldn't seem to make any. Lots of delicious Dark, but no Very Dark. We were beginning to think that we wouldn't get any at all, but at the very end--the very last day, we managed to make 5 gallons or so, which made us very happy.
The very last day of boiling. Too many 60+ degree days in a row weren't good for the sap!
When all was said and done, we ended up with 160 gallons of beautiful maple syrup--double what we produced last year. The improvements we made in the sugar bush really paid off! It was an off season as a whole for maple syrup. Most producers reported lower than normal sugar content in the sap this year, which was our experience as well. We feel very blessed to have made so much syrup in spite of that!
Samples from different batches of this year's syrup--so pretty!
Our 2021 maple making season may be over, but we have lots of ideas and plans for the rest of the year. It's one thing to make 160 gallons of maple syrup, and another to sell it! We are working on improvements to our website that will allow folks to shop right from here without having to go to Etsy. We are excited about that! We are also hoping to have syrup available in more local stores. Currently we have syrup at the Better Living Center and Pins & Needles, both in Farmington. Along with that, we'd like to set up some sort of self-service kiosk either at the end of the driveway or at the sugar house to make it quick and easy for people to stop in whenever is convenient for them. We are always happy to meet customers at the sugar house, and are pretty much "open" all the time, but the kiosk also seems to be a good idea, as people can just "grab and go" if we aren't home or if they are in a hurry!
It's a pretty ride out our way. This is just a mile from us and our favorite place to walk to.
Maple cream was a big hit at Maine Maple Weekend. We're hoping to have that as a regular offering soon. We're perfecting our technique at present! If you have never had maple cream, you are missing out. 100% pure maple syrup--nothing else--but in a creamy, spreadable form that just melts in your mouth. A hot, homemade biscuit spread with maple cream is the stuff dreams are made of. It's a bit fussy to make with a bit of a learning curve, but we are getting there. I made a small batch today, and it is already all spoken for. I need to get more efficient at this! We dream about having a maple cream machine one day, but for right now my KitchenAid stand mixer is doing the job, which limits how much I can make at a time. Little by little...
Maple cream in the making...it still has a ways to go in this picture.
And along with the other improvements, we are hoping to be more active here in this space. So far we've used the blog just during sapping season for those who want to follow along. But there are so many more maple things that we could use this space for as well. I'm thinking recipes and interesting maple news or information. Life has a way of getting crazy-busy, but hopefully we can do some of that!
I'm finishing this post with a picture of the view from the front door this morning. With a scene like this it seems like we should still be making maple syrup. But that is spring in Maine for you. Up and down and up and back down again. It's the April weather yo-yo!
It's pretty, but if we can't make any more maple syrup, we are ready for green trees rather than white! April snow never lasts, and it makes the grass grow greener, so no complaints. Well, no big complaints at least.