SweetWood Maple Products

Pennsylvania Pure Maple Syrup  


Maple Season - 2006

Well, decided to take the plunge and buy out a friend's outfit that included a 2 year old D&G 3 x 10 all stainless drop flue evaporator.  Included also were filter press, candy machine, canning tanks, cream machine, etc etc.  Hauled it all home on December 16th with my Dad's truck, trailer, and 16' U-Haul.

Needless to say, it was a struggle getting everything set up.  I had to grease up the pans and get a running start into the sugarhouse door.  The new 3 x 10 only has about 4' of room in front to fire, so it is a tight squeeze.  Plus, I decided to get some steam hoods so as not to chop a huge hole in the sugarhouse roof.  Anyway, I might have been fine except I decided to do vacuum this year.  Of course, I had to design and build my own releaser (removes the sap from the vacuum lines), plus install sap ladders. 

To be brief, I still have some to go yet in the sugarhouse, but have barely enough to tap.

I tapped 335 taps on February 25th.  Won't hand the 20 buckets until the next warm up.  The way I figure, besides January warm weather, I've missed three good runs while trying to get finished with everything.  Oh well, this is a hobby, right???

 Update March 10:

Huge runs after so many days of warm weather.  Had to boil all night to get the sap in the evaporator.  Had 900 gallons, and took care of it in about 11 hours.  I was beyond fatigue after firing every 5 minutes for that long.  Was starting to hear voices about 4 am in the sugarhouse.  Drew off about 15 gallons of syrup including the 300 or so gallons that I had previously put through the pans.  All very light amber syrup.  Packaged in Smurfit 5 gallon containers to be canned or made into cream later.

Update March 22:

Well, I'm up to 2160 gallons of sap.  Last good run was on Friday, where I collected 450 gallons in two days run.  Sugar content is really low.  I'm figuring that my total so far is only about 35 gallons of syrup.  15 gallons of light and 20 gallons of medium.  I am hoping the sugar content goes up, or I'll be burning major wood for very little return.  As a reference, I was slightly less than 2400 gallons of sap for the entire season last year.  I think the vacuum system is helping.  It definitely helps not to have to pump sap several times to get it to the evaporator tank.  If the extended forecast holds out, it will be 10 days straight of runs.  We'll see, the weather people have been wrong before...

Final update 2006:

Well, March 27th was the last day of collecting sap.  Some trees were making the sap a slight yellow tint, and starting to smell a little like stagnant water.  Also, broke some buds and found the slightest bit of green.  Sap was starting to turn buddy. 

Final total was 3200 gallon of sap and 50 gallons of syrup.  about 25 gallons of light amber and 5 gallons of medium, then 20 gallons of dark amber.  All good tasting with no metabolism or off flavors.  I gravity filtered all but about 9 gallons, which I put through the filter press.  Have so many orders that I must get syrup canned up.

Within the next month, I'll be taking down and cleaning tubing and getting everything cleaned up.  Besides tapping a few more trees in the yard, don't plan for much expansion next year.

2006 February Weather

2006 March Weather