Season Off to Promising Start

by Tig Tillinghast

We expect to boil again today. We’ve had two good boil nights so far, producing about 30 gallons of maple syrup a piece. Most of that maple syrup went to customers who’d back ordered syrup, so the stuff is still pretty scant.

[One of our boils, throwing about 100 gallons of water from already-concentrated sap into the air]

The weather report tells us that it should be just about perfect maple syruping weather for the next 8 days. But you need to put that in perspective: just a few degrees up or down, or a little bit of wind, will knock down that maple sap. And the weather is seldom accurate, certainly persistently accurate. Here is an image of the 10-day forecast.

Note that there are a couple days in the week where the temps at night don’t go below freezing. That means that the trees won’t “recharge” much for the next day, but with our vacuum system, we can still pull a good amount of sap out of the trees that buckets generally would not. That means that we might have a couple all-night runs. We hope to make lots of maple syrup this week. If that weather prediction proves true (would be a first), we’d make 250 to 300 gallons of maple syrup over the period.

Generally, maple syrup producers watch the weather with great diligence, delving into the 15-minute interval forecasts. Lots of decisions are made based on this data, such as when to turn on or off the vacuum devices, and most of the data turns out to be wrong. I know a few oldtimer maple syrup producers who just go about their business with the expectation that the weather will conform to them just about as much as they’d conform to it, and it’s maddening to see that they’re usually right.