A long winter means a late start to the maple syrup season. The sustained cold and lack of thaws means that our maple trees are frozen solid. It will take a number of warm sunny days to melt the snow away from the tree trunks and allow the sap to begin to flow. The weather forecast suggests that maple sugaring will begin towards the last third of March this year - more like it did when Ken started making syrup 42 years ago. In recent years, we've become used to warmer winters and sap flows starting late February. Our snowshoes had started to gather dust hanging on the wall, but not this year. It's been far too cold to begin tapping yet but as soon as the temperature starts climbing close to the freezing point, we will strap on the snowshoes and head to the sugarbush!
Our sugarhouse will remain closed while we're tapping. We will open as soon as we have fresh syrup available. Please continue to check back in for updates as things hopefully get underway soon.
Thanks to all of our wonderful customers, we are now completely sold out of Maple Syrup again for the year. We would like to thank you all for your patronage, and we look forward to springtime when we can share the excitement of the Maple Syrup Season with you again!
The cold weather has been lingering, and as a result the syrup season has stretched out a little longer than we thought it might. Dad was up last night doing a(nother) midnight boiling session, and he said it was snowing like crazy! There was an inch of snow on the ground at the farm this morning:
What a difference a year makes. Last year we had July weather in mid-March and the syrup season lasted 10 days. This year, we have had five weeks of sugaring and it's colder today at the end of the season than it was back in early March when we started. Dad says in 41 years of making maple syrup he's never had two seasons the same!
Despite the strange April weather, the sap is still running! The weather has been cooler this week than predicted, complete with a "winter storm watch"! The sap is running today, and we hope to collect some tomorrow as well. We will be open this weekend from 1pm - 5pm daily. We do anticipate that this will be the final weekend, so now is your chance if you would like to visit while we are still in production. For visiting hours after this weekend, please call (705) 835-5780 to arrange at time.
The weather has been co-operating this week, and we have been collecting and boiling sap every day!
It has been nice to see lots of happy faces at the farm, as many visitors have been out to learn about the syrup-making process and stock up on our delicious "liquid gold".
Full tank of sap - Still cold enough when this was taken to have some ice
Lots of Steam!
The weather forecast continues to look promising, and we are hoping for at least one more week of freezing temperatures over night. If you are interested in seeing more photos and updates from the season, please check out our Facebook Page!
Like surfers waiting for the perfect wave or gamblers looking for the perfect hand of cards, maple syrup farmers wait and dream about the perfect sap day.A day when all the forces of nature combine to produce that elusive flood of maple sap.
The ideal day begins the night before with clear skies and calm winds.The stars twinkle as the temperature slowly drops to -5C.The snow is frozen hard by morning but the rising sun soon starts it to melt.By 11AM, the maple trees have thawed and sap starts to drip from the spiles.By 1PM, sap is running hard,as much as one litre per tree per hour.The sky is brilliant blue dotted with a few puffy clouds.A gentle west breeze shakes the tree branches.Temperature hovers around +5C.Sap runs hard until evening when the sun drops below the horizon, the breeze stops and the temperature again drops below freezing. That’s the textbook recipe for maple syrup making nirvana.But seldom do things unfold according to the book.Last year (2012) didn’t have a single day even close.This season has been better but we’re still waiting for that "perfect day".Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t and it’s that uncertainty that makes syrup making so much fun and so addictive. - Ken McCutcheon
McCutcheon's Maple Syrup will be open for visitors, beginning Saturday, March 16! We have been able to catch up on the many repairs we've been working on the in sugarbush, and have collected and boiled our first batches of sap. The next few days look like they might be too cold for more sap to run, so that will give us a chance to bottle our first 2013 syrup and it will be available for sale this weekend! We will be open from 1pm - 5pm. Hope to see you!
We are so close to having fresh syrup again! The weather this week was just a bit colder than predicted, so we have not had any large runs of sap yet. The trees did thaw out for a few hours the past couple of afternoons, just enough to enable us to check our lines for more leaks and squirrel damage. Unfortunately, we are still finding problems, including one main-line that shattered in the little cold snap on the weekend - very unusual.
The forecast looks promising, so fingers crossed that the weatherman is right! We will let you know as soon as we have some fresh maple syrup made and bottled, and we are open for visitors!
We have been working hard every day, and we are getting closer to having all of our maple trees tapped and ready for the first sap run of the year. Unfortunately, our preparations have been a little slower than we would like due to an extremely large amount of squirrel damage. The squirrels chew through the plastic tubing and spiles creating holes which allow precious sap to leak out, and disrupt the vacuum pressure in the lines.
This must be the tastiest spot - we have seen a lot of spiles like this one.
We have had to replace many drop-lines and spiles; a process which is both time-consuming, and an additional expense.
At least 200 drop-lines we have cut out and replaced. Still lots more that need fixing.
If you are interested, here is a short video on the tubing repair process. You can also watch it HERE.
Those pesky squirrels must have had itchy ears this week, as they were getting called all kinds of nasty names! Despite the minor frustration while working today, at one point dad said to me, "You know, syrup making is really fun!" Still having fun after 41 years, love it! Mind you, he did caveat that by saying, "when you aren't in a race with Mother Nature." Haha! Well, as it stands right now, we are in good shape to be ready. The forecast is looking promising for next week, but of course that can change quickly. Stay tuned for more updates!