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2022 Sugaring Season: Tapping and Our First Boil

It’s been an exciting few weeks on Butternut Mountain Farm’s home farm as the weather turns more favorable for sugaring!

The weather was warm enough last week for us to collect 11,000 gallons of 1.8 percent sap. The crew processed the sap and boiled it to total two full 40 gallon drums and almost filling a third. The wether ahead was looking promising.

Over the weekend, the crew chased leaks in the tubing while the weather was warm. The normal vacuum problems encountered included missed trees during tapping, chews on the lines, most likely from squirrel, birds, deer or those critters eager for a sweet sip of sap. “Only takes a few minutes to fix,” Ira Marvin reports. “Finding it is what takes time and lots of walking.”

Tapping was completed on Wednesday February 16. This year we have 29,601 taps! The next day the crew returned to the woods to chase more vacuum leaks. If the leaks are major like a missed drop, you hear the suction of air being pulled into the drop. This usually echoes at the mainline where the tubing is connected. In some cases it is not seeing something in the tubing that is an indicator. No sap means the line is just pulling air. In this case closing off the tubing line temporarily and then releasing will make a quick hiss. Then it is a process of elimination at each tree and section of tubing line to determine what and where the issue is.

Thursday, with all the great work done by the crew chasing leaks, the sap was flowing in. 5,000 gallons were pumped outside from the sugarhouse to make room for the night sap.

Friday started early around 4am when the reverse osmosis machine was turned on. Shortly after that the weather turned colder and the snow started to fly. With 19-20,000 gallons of sap to process and boil it should be a busy day.

We’re looking forward to the season ahead!