2022 Maple Syrup Season Summary
“If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.”
― Mark Twain
The winter and spring of 2022 in Northern Vermont stayed true to this saying by Mark Twain. One minute it would be a sunny, balmy 45 degrees and the next minute it would be 15 degrees and a blizzard. We had a very cold January with not much snow. The cold temperatures precluded tapping on many days. Tapping is the process of going to each maple tree, drilling a very small 1/4" hole in the tree, and inserting a spout (also called spile) into the hole to collect the sap coming out of the tree. We don't like tapping if the temperature isn't above 10 degrees because the tree's wood can split when you tap the spout in. Unfortunately on many days in January the temperature struggled to get above zero even at noon, so no tapping these days! Eventually we did get enough "warm" days and with the outstanding efforts of our crew we managed to finishing tapping in mid-February before the first sap run.
Spring came a little early to Vermont this year. We collected sap and had our first boil on February 23th this year. We had a few problems like the bearings going on one of our pumps, but overall production went very smoothly with almost no problems. During March and early April we had many good runs of sap and we were able to produce excellent tasting syrup.
One of the interesting things about this year is that the sap we collected was unusually sweet. We measure the sugar content of sap and syrup using hydrometers which gives a reading of the Brix. One Brix is equal to 1 gram of sugar in 100 grams of water. A typical Brix reading for sap is 2% and for every 40 gallons of this sap you get about one gallon of maple syrup. The sap we collected during the early part of this season was averaging 2.5% Brix so it didn't take as much sap as typical to get a gallon of syrup. Having higher sugar content sap combined with ideal weather helped us have a very productive season overall.
The 2022 weather compared to last year is summarized in the the graph below. The chart shows "Cumulative Growing Degree Days" which is a measure of how fast or slow the weather is heating up in a given spring. Farmers, gardeners, and orchardists use this information to predict when seeds will germinate and other plant events like bud break. The blue line is 2022, the yellow line is 2021, the green line is 2020 and the black line is the average year. Last year was a very poor production year. It started late on March 11th and was cut short by a heat wave on April 8th - 29 days total. This year the season started February 23rd and went to April 15th, 52 days total.
- The weather in March and early April was perfect for maple sugaring and we had many good days of production.
- The percent sugar in our sap was unusually high this year, making for a productive year.
- The taste of our syrup was excellent this year, very smooth and crisp with no aftertaste.
- Much better season this year compared to last year. A huge THANKs to everyone who helped us!