We had two excellent sap days on Friday and Saturday and have been boiling sap to produce some very delicious, early run syrup. Many visitors out to the farm reported a "buttery flavour" upon taste-testing. Last night the temperatures dropped all the way to -18, so things are frozen up for a day or two. The sap flow will resume when the temperature rises back up above the freezing mark again; currently the forecast says by Tuesday or Wednesday. We will be open with syrup for sale from 1pm - 5pm but the sap will not be running today. Make sure to bundle up warmly if you are stopping by! Also, please be aware that payment is by cash or cheque only.
Dad emptying a small sap tank we affectionately refer to as "The Sputnik"
due to it's spaceship-like appearance.
A happy sight - The sugarhouse full of sunshine and steam.
The sugarhouse shelf is fully stocked with fresh 2015 syrup, and we will be open tomorrow from 1pm - 5pm! Tomorrow sounds like a warm and sappy day - perfect for a self-guided sugarbush tour on our new walking trail (winter boots are recommended, as there is still snow in the woods). We also have delicious, freshly made maple sugar and maple butter for sale, and it is likely we will be collecting and boiling sap throughout the afternoon. Hope to see your smiling and sticky faces soon!
Have you been waiting patiently to re-stock your fridge with liquid gold? The first syrup of 2015 is now bottled and ready!
Come enjoy the fresh spring air, and take a walk on our self-guided sugarbush tour.
The sap is running! The photo below shows our holding tank about to overflow; luckily Dad was able to pump some to a separate overflow tank just in time to avert disaster! We have had our first boil and everything went smoothly. We will work on finishing and bottling the first run syrup this week and will have some ready for you on Friday, March 20th - our opening day! We will be open from 1pm - 5pm, and will keep the same hours daily for the remainder of the season. Look forward to seeing you soon!
This week was great weather for tapping, and we were able to get all 6500 spiles hammered in with six days of steady work. The temperatures have been mild enough for the sap to start running which is necessary for the next step in the process - checking for leaks! The video below shows a leak in a sap line, most likely due to a squirrel bite. This one was quite obvious, and you could easily see and hear it. Some require much trickier detective work!
There is still lots of work to do to get everything running smoothly, and the equipment in the sugarhouse ready for boiling. We are hoping to have some fresh syrup made and bottled by the end of next week, weather permitting. Please check back in a few days for confirmation of our opening day!
We had our first tapping day of the season on Saturday March 7th - coincidently, the same date that we started last year! After a very cold February, things have finally warmed up enough for us to get to work. In very frigid temperatures, tapping (the process of drilling new holes and hammering in spiles) is physically hard on the trees and also results in frustration and extra work as the tubing and fittings become brittle and break. That being said, it is always a race to get the trees all tapped before the temperatures rise enough for the sap to actually run, as we do not want to miss collecting a single drop! This weekend was ideal tapping weather as the temperatures were just slightly below zero, and with all hands on deck we were able to get off to a good start!
Many hands make light work. Rene, Ken, Jesse, & Colette. Snow is deep!
Tough going! The snow is very deep and a sugary
texture that the snowshoes sink right through.
All-terrain vehicles required.
Spring sweetness -- a "tree hug"
Like a bud waiting to blossom, we saw some hints of sap in the
sunny spots, just letting us know that it is ready and waiting too.
It's clean-up time at McCutcheon's! We are in the process of washing and taking down our lines, and cleaning up our equipment for next year. Now that the snow has melted, we are finding many spiles are now too high to reach! Jesse even had to build some special reaching tools for us so we can pull them out!
would have to be tall to reach this one!
We are no longer keeping regular hours at the farm, so if you would like to arrange a visit, please call (705) 835-5780. You can also find Ken & Rene at the Orillia Farmers' Market now, at the new library location on Saturday mornings.
Sunday April 20th was our final sap day of 2014. It was -4 overnight on Sunday, and this afternoon it got up to +24! The grass is turning green, the spring peepers are singing, and the syrup season that took so long to get here is finally over.
With the extremely late start to the sap run, we were fearing for the worst. However, once the flow began, we did get three solid weeks of good sap weather and came out in the end with about an average crop - not bad considering.
We will no longer be keeping regular hours at the farm, so please call ahead to arrange a visit ~ (705) 835-5780. You will find us this weekend at the annual Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival. Fingers crossed for a beautiful day!
The season has been pretty consistent since it began on March 28th; we have collected small runs of sap every day since then, and our stock of maple syrup is slowly growing. With the late start to an already short window of opportunity, we are hoping that the season will hang on just a little longer. The forecast does look like it has some cool overnight temperatures for this coming week, so hopefully we are not finished yet. With it now being mid-April, significantly warmer temperatures and the end of our frosty nights are surely close at hand.
In addition to collecting and boiling sap every day, we have been hard at work bottling up all of the fresh syrup. The Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival is on Saturday, April 26th this year, and we always anticipate a big crowd! We continue to be open at the farm from 1pm - 5pm daily, and will be open through the entire Easter weekend. Come by and stock up on spring sweetness!
We are happy to say that our sugarhouse shelf is finally stocked with delicious, fresh 2014 maple syrup! Our opening day is tomorrow, Saturday April 5th, and we will be open from 1pm - 5pm daily. Hope to see many of you soon!
The calendar says that it's spring and the sap should be running, but Mother Nature says otherwise. We received 20 centimetres of fresh snow last night to add to the metre already on the ground. And with temperatures forecast to plunge to -16 tonight and remain firmly below freezing all week, it looks like the maple sugaring season is to be delayed yet again.
This year may be shaping up to be a record breaker, in one way or another -- in 1997, we boiled the first sap of the season on March 25th and the season carried on until April 21st, the latest start and finish in our 42 year career. This week we had several very brief sap runs but as of today, March 22nd, we are yet to have collected enough sap to boil.
In the meantime, we are doing our best to have everything ready for the run that must come eventually. Stay tuned!