Sap Flow Overview
The past week saw moderate to great sap flows before the province-wide cold snap of the last few days. Producers everywhere are in high spirits as the season has both extended the season and provided many with a much-needed pause. Most producers in the south have surpassed their yields from last year. Flavour is excellent throughout, and producers are repeating their annual mantra that the current year has the best flavour ever.
Do you think your syrup tastes a little funny, but can’t put your finger on why? Identifying off-flavours can be difficult, and figuring out the cause is especially tricky for newer producers. The best way to train your palate is to practice by attending a maple judging workshop, or to taste syrup from as many of your neighbours as will let you. Aside from that, you can read the Maple News’s excellent article summarizing common off-flavours here. Honing this skill is important as we head into the latter half of the season and warming weather brings more metabolic and buddy sap off flavours. Many a consumer has let a single poor experience with off-flavoured product convince them that they don’t love maple syrup. It’s up to each producer to ensure their excellent syrup really is excellent for everyone!
For the maple syrup production report below, find your region here.
Sap flowed well this week, with hard maples averaging 1 gallon per tap. Brix has declined to about 1.6-1.7 on high vacuum, and producers are making dark syrup. Producers have made up to 150% of an average year’s crop. The cold spell this week is bringing favourable maple weather and producers are expecting at least another week of sap run.
Sap flow in the past week before the freeze was on and off, with some good runs last Tuesday-Wednesday. Sap Brix was around 2.5 and amber to dark syrup is being made. Many producers who have both buckets and lines are reporting noticeably slower and less yields in their buckets, with some saying that buckets stopped entirely at times when vacuum lines were still yielding. However, a few others have not noticed much of a difference. Growers reported varying issues with filtration, with some having none and others needing to change filter paper to fill a barrel. Producers are at about 50-65% of a crop and are all hopeful for the coming few days after the deep freeze of earlier this week.
Grey-Bruce & District
Producers are reporting slow and partial sap flows this past week, on par with how the rest of the season has been. The warm spells combined with occasional deep freezes have likely impacted this. Most producers are reporting Brix holding at higher levels than usual (2.2-2.6), but others are reporting that it is falling. One producer on high vacuum reported that the Brix decreased from 2.1-1.7 over the past two weeks. Golden and amber syrup is being made, with multiple reports of lighter than usual colour for this time of the season. Filtration issues again varied from producer to producer; most reported no issues but some needed to change papers frequently. Producers are at 35-50% of an average crop.
This area saw some of the best sap flows of the season so far in the past week, with some saying the sap flowed 24 hours a day. Sap Brix is reported at 2-2.2, a noticeable drop from earlier in the season for some. Golden, amber, and some dark syrup is being made. Snow is still found in the cooler areas of the bush. Across the board, no filtration issues have been reported. Most producers are at 30-60% of an average year, with one very large producer over 80%.
Simcoe & District
Good sap flows were reported in the past week before the freeze. Sap Brix was 2.3-3% and producers are making amber syrup with excellent flavour. One producer reported unusually high brix in the soft maples. No significant filtration issues in this region. Producers are at 40-50% of an average crop. Some are reporting that parts of their bush with significant snow cover have just begun to run, but the warmer areas have slowed sap production.
Lanark & District
Sap flows over the past week have been middling, with some warmer weather slowing the sap before the freeze over the weekend. Sap Brix ranged from 2.1-3.3, with golden, amber, and some dark syrup being made. Flavour is excellent for most and mild for some of the golden producers. One grower reported heavy fine niter, but most others are not experiencing significant filtration issues. Producers have made between 50-80% of an average year’s crop.
Producers in this region also enjoyed good sap flows until the cold snap. Brix ranged from 2-2.6 and amber syrup is being made. Filtration issues were few and far between until the cold spell arrived. Producers are at 40-60% of an average crop, and are hopeful for good sap flows later this week.
Quinte & District
This region also saw great sap flows last Tuesday and Wednesday before the weather warmed a little and the sap slowed before the freeze. Average sap Brix was 1.5-2.6 and amber syrup is being made. Most are reporting no filtration issues, but one producer finding that his filters are being clogged with a very thin but impenetrable layer of sugar sand. Producers have made 30-100% of their crop.
Ottawa Valley & District
Last week saw good sap runs in this region until the cold weekend. Producers made amber syrup with excellent flavour. Sugar sand was higher than it usually is at this point in the season. Producers at higher elevations have complete snow cover in the sugarbush, but elsewhere snow is sparse. Producers have made 25-35% of an average year’s crop.
Sap flow was good last week in this region until things froze in the last few days. Brix was around 2-2.3. Syrup was amber to very dark, with one producer reporting darker than usual syrup that produced black sediment when filtered. However, folks weren’t afraid to wax poetic about the excellent flavour! Producers have made 15-20% of an average year’s crop.
Algoma & District
Sap flows were excellent last week. Some experienced low sap sugar content of 1.7 while others had up to 3.2 before the freeze. Amber syrup is being made, and some are reporting good flavour while others are finding it to still have a metabolic taste. Syrup is lighter than it was at the beginning of the season, when folks on St Joe’s in particular reported darker syrup than usual. Filtration issues again vary between bushes. Producers have made 25-35% of an average crop.
What’s happening in your bush?
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Many thanks to producers large and small who have already participated!
Though gathering and masking restrictions have been lifted across the province, precautions should still be taken to keep our families and workplaces safe. Please see a slide of updated OMAFRA resources below. Highlights include:
- an online safety plan builder to help producers develop custom safety plans
- Agricorp production insurance deadlines being extended
- free mental health resources for farmers during this busy and stressful time
- distribution of free HEPA filters to improve ventilation in agri-food congregate living settings
OMSPA Maple Weekend
The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association’s Maple Weekend is running April 2-3. This is a great opportunity to get out and taste other producers’ best crop of the year. Happy sugaring!