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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Maple Syrup Problems



It's the start of the maple syrup season here in northern New Hampshire. Reports are in from a number of producers and something is wrong.

Maple syrup is produced by boiling down the maple sap to concentrate the sugar. This year there appears to be very little sugar in the sap. It normally takes a lot of energy to run the evaporators, but it's been worse this year because sugar yields are very low.

What syrup that is produced hasn't been very good. There's an off flavor this year. Even producers with top of the line equipment report these problems.

It is early in the season and there's hope things will improve. Early reports are worrisome. Last year the season was cut short by the unusually warm weather, so they really need a good year. Most maple syrup is produced by small operations. For many it's a labor of love. For others, it's a critical part of their yearly income.

I've never heard of these problems before. Something's going on and no one seems to know what it is.


-Sixbears

18 comments:

  1. I haven't heard a peep out of Somerset Co, where the Maple festival ends on the 24th. There's only the usual song and dance for the saps, I mean touristas. Most of the sugar camps up that way don't know their ass from a hole in the ground about the quality of their products anyhow. Their "official history" is all "white wash" from their pageant featuring a "eastern native" in "western native regalia" and their "authentic native america re-enactors". When I get up that way, I'll ask one or another Dutchmen how it was. They will have a clue. I haven't tapped a tree in a decade or I would be able to give ya the low down myself. I'm getting a vibe here, So I'll ask around with the elders too. Whichever I'll report it back.

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    1. I am curious if this is just a local problem or not. The people I've been hearing from take great pride in the purity and quality of their product, so this has them worried.

      Maple season is just getting started here.

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    2. Going by memory here. very little sugar in the sap, sounds like an unusually wet winter. Off taste, sounds like alkaline or acid imbalance. It happens about every decade or so.
      The elders were no help, I got a blank stare and a lecture on how to re-queen a hive. the senile old fart called me impudent for explaining I was asking about maple syrup and not honey. The prices will go up if the production is affected for sure. I still gotta ask one of the dutchmen, they ain't got any internet or phone. I'm lucky to be one of the few english they give straight answers too. This sounds like what the old timers called a blight. by my recollection the last time I heard of such like was in the late 70's. Their meaning of blight was mountain talk an god knows what they meant by that.

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    3. Thanks for the info. I'll pass it on. I walked out to the sugar bush today, but the owner was way the heck up the side of the moutain and I didn't feel like trying to chase him down.

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  2. Better get rid of anonymous; he's a spammer.

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  3. You're being hit by spammers. Time for comment moderation methinks Sixbears...

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    1. I've been resisting, but the junk is pouring in.

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  4. Possible Fukushima contamination ? Seems we all are sucking up a lot of Rads which are not being reported...

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  5. Sorry to hear about the problem. Pure maple syrup is my favorite accompanyment to pancakes and maple sugar candy is a real treat. Hope a solution is found.

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  6. It is climate change. Nothing ever stays the same.

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    1. No nothing does, but I'd really rather not lose my maply syrup.

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  7. Maple syrup is one of natures treasures I sure would hate to see disappear!

    Now I'm hungry for biscuits and syrup!

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    1. Cook some ham and eggs in real maple syrup. It looks like a mess, but tastes wonderful.

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  8. Been a long time since I had real maple syrup. Things are getting pretty tough all over, we are still in a pretty severe drought down here and it has affected the fishing big time. Lots of farmers talking about not bothering to plant this year around here. Cotton and sorghum maybe, but definitely no corn. Last year's corn got scorched...

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    1. On the bright side, there wasn't enough corn for the ethanol plants. Less of that to blend with gas.

      I grew up on the real stuff. Nothing else compares.

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