Maple Season 2020: In the Books!
If you know anything about maple syrup producers, you know that production occurs over a six-week period from February to as late as April. As the leaves bud and the season ends, an army of sleep deprived, and delirious sugar makers stumble out of their respective sugar-houses to put their trees and equipment to bed. This year’s sprint to the finish line was no different for us here at Carman Brook Maple Farm.
Production fluctuates year to year, so one of the first things that we do is take stock of what we have on hand and plan accordingly. This year we made 7513 gallons, and all things considered (to include COVID-19), things could always be worse. Being in the business that we are, fluctuating on the winds of largely unpredictable variables such as weather, we try to maintain a positive attitude throughout. “It is what it is”, is something you will hear said not only from us, but sugar makers across the region. Though we just had an April snowstorm (please be the last one!), weather conditions were overall favorable in our little micro-climate of the Lake Champlain Valley.
Once overall production is accounted for, our equipment must be put away until next year. For example, that large, shiny piece of machinery you may recognize called an evaporator requires a lot of TLC at the end of every season, this ensures it is ready to go for future seasons. 1000’s and 1000’s of gallons of sap pass through the cooking pans on its journey to be realized as finished maple syrup leaving a mineral buildup that must be removed. For the next 10 months, after the initial clean, its maintenance is mostly just keeping the cobwebs and dust from accumulating.
Simultaneously, the steward of our sugar bush, Levon, is walking dozens of miles to remove our almost 14,000 taps from our trees. If you were to look from the bird’s eye, the maze of connected sap lines would appear to make neither rhyme nor reason. Levon has tried year after year to explain to the rest of us his plan for attacking this job. However, we just take him at his word and assist how we can; he always gets the job done and done well.
Finally, our production engineers, Karen, and Jon, must prep our facilities to return to their steady-state production layout so we can get back to curating our world class products. Delivering maple syrup and candy to our valued customers never stops, even when the sap is rolling in. Karen and Jon are much happier to return to their traditional rhythm after they reclaim the workspace to themselves.
We just wanted to share with the word of the goings on since the completion of Sugar Season 2020. As it always is around here… on to the next task!