Another mild winter here at the Farm. Though the temperatures are a little colder than last year and we've had a bit more snow ... in general, it's been an "easy" winter to get through.
It's Maple Syrup season here in our area of Logan County. We have tapped our trees on Valentine's Day, February 14, for many years. It's an easy date to remember and our woods is a north-facing woods that tends to start later in the season than some other places. But this year, on February 6, we had a beautiful, sunny, 60 degree day and decided we'd just take advantage of dry trails and no wind. With our new drill we were able to tap 30 trees before recharging. We only put out 47 taps this year; we're very small scale. We cook in a 3-pan system, heating with wood, so the going is slow. We're happy to get a gallon a day. When we reach our self-allotted 10 gallons, we usually quit ... unless we're in the middle of a good run.
Well, this year, as of February 18 we already have 6 gallons of syrup made! So, we're either in for an early spring ... or it's going to be a very good year for syrup. Maybe we should have been tapping early all along. But in years past, our woods never kicked in until mid to late February, so we just chose February 14 as a good compromise.
We have a pretty good following at our Farmers' Market for the syrup. I know we could start selling it now and be sold out in no time. But, since we don't have a lot of produce to begin Market with on the first Saturday in May, the Syrup makes a good draw to get people coming back to the Market at the beginning of the season. We sell out pretty quick, but Maple Syrup-making is quite a project and we have to limit ourselves to only a few taps. We collect everything by bucket and have to carry it to the "camp" for cooking, so we only collect from trees within a short distance.
Once the sap starts flowing, we start getting pretty busy with other spring projects. Covering the hoophouses, starting seeds, anxiously watching the soil for signs we can start tilling, etc. See you soon at the Market!