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OK, We Can't Control EverythingSubmitted by Robb on March 28, 2011 - 11:44pm
Working in the sugarbush is a rewarding experience and, as I've shared in prior posts, it’s hard work. Today, I thought I'd tell you a bit about some of the things we can’t control.
Wind is not our friend and neither are storms – ice storms and snow storms can do a lot of damage to maple trees. Also, high winds knock off branches, and branches take out lines. We’ve got almost half a million lineal feet of lines in place that feed the sap to our collection houses and production facility. Read more on this at Welcome to Crown Maple Farm.
Fortunately, we had several high-wind storms before the sugaring period, so Mother Nature pruned the trees for us and we haven’t really had a lot of damage from storms this year. Temperatures have been cooperating, too. We’ve had cool nights and warm – not hot – days. In fact we still have some snow cover on our northern slopes. The ground is saturated with water, which helps with production because the trees have a lot to feed off of.
Terroir - The Taste of Place
You can’t overstate the impact soil has on making maple syrup. Not all plots of land are created equal, and the earth under Crown Maple Farm is proving to be among the best anywhere. As Nathan Wooden, our Chief Syrup Taster tells me, the importance of the soil to maple syrup is similar to the wine world, where certain parcels of land are venerated with an almost religious zeal. The idea of 'terroir' – or 'taste of place' – was first lifted up by French winemakers. It has since been adopted and championed by not only other winemakers, but by a variety of artisanal agricultural producers. Crown Maple Farm has a very special and unique soil that translates into our finished product being just as special and unique.
Of course it takes more than great soil to make great maple syrup. The sap needs to be collected quickly and efficiently. And with 16,000 taps and 90 miles of tubing, maintenance is an ongoing process. It’s a lot to cover in a day. Each day the crew goes out into the sugarbush and stays out until it gets dark, locating problems and fixing them. Sometimes we find animals have caused problems. We haven’t really had a lot of animal damage. Coyotes have chewed through a few lines and a few more have been damaged by squirrels. We keep track of animal activity so we can be ready to fix any issues as they occur.
What will tomorrow bring? Who knows. But there’s always something interesting going on here at Crown Maple Farm.
From the Farm provides updates on how the Crown Maple team is turning sap from the some of the most regal maple trees into quite possibly the purest maple syrup on earth. The Crown Maple team shares their insight into maple sugaring, the latest maple syrup production techniques, life in the sugarbush, conserving the land and sustainable forestry. Interested in more? Subscribe to receive updates.