Sap lines, taps, and buckets mean winter is coming to a sweet end as local maple producers report that boiling has begun, following a slow start.
Describing this year’s sap run, Burr Morse of the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks in East Montpelier said, “It’s starting slowly with an early two-day run in late February but then a shutdown until mid-March. Our first boil [was] on March 12. The week starting March 14 looks like excellent sugar weather according to forecasts (nighttime lows in the 20s and daytime highs in the 40s).”
Morse reminded The Bridge that sap production requires freezing nights — but not too cold — and thawing days — but not too warm. The amount of syrup produced totally depends on how many trees are tapped, and, of course, the weather.
Likewise, down in Randolph, Bette Lambert of Silloway Maple reports, “We finally had a tsunami of sap late yesterday (March 11), made beautiful golden delicate syrup most of the night, and it’s running fast again today (March 12).”
Silloway Maple taps 22,000 trees and expects to produce 12,000 gallons of syrup, Lambert wrote in an email. She also said visitors are welcome to “come and watch the boiling, and to bring their own containers to fill, at $4/pound, an excellent price for new syrup right off the evaporator.”
Contributing to the slow start has been windy conditions, with high gusts knocking down sap lines and uprooting trees, Lambert said. She reminds readers of The Bridge that maple sugar season continues until the buds come out on the trees, “and then the season is over.”
Silloway is hosting Maple Open House weekends on March 19–20, and March 26–27, with doughnuts, sugar on snow, and maple hotdogs.
Morse Farm invites people for free sugar house tours and tastings, as does the Bragg Farm Sugarhouse and Gift Shop, also in East Montpelier. The Bragg family has been making maple syrup for 8 generations.