As Sapsquatch enters our fifth season, we are excited about many new developments both on the farm and on the web. However, our hopes are tempered by uncertainty as we have watched the 2012 season unfold. January 2012 is now in the record books as the 4th warmest in 118 years http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-yeager/warm-winter_b_1261389.html
and sugarmakers were some of the first to take notice. As my new friends at www.sapstosyrup.com say, when Mother Nature says jump, you jump. Alarm has been spreading within the online world of sugarmakers, climate experts and environmental bloggers. Check out some links to the articles that have been circulating the net under climate change affects on maple syrup production.
With our first two boils under our belts, we are hitting our stride now. We have produced 15 total gallons of medium and dark amber and have bottled 10 of those gallons so far. It looks like our typical early season cash flow problems will soon be over. The outlook for the next week looks to be ideal for sap flow, so we are looking at a rather long boil next weekend. Looking back at last year’s spreadsheets, we boiled for the first time on February 18 and produced 3.5 gallons. With the new taps we are installing this week, we are looking at 35 gallons of production by the same date this year; ten times last years mark!
With that though kicking around in our heads, it’s hard not to get overconfident. However, there is a very real threat of the trees budding earlier than normal and cutting the season short. This could be a danger to the long-term outlook as well if a late frost damaged early budding trees. One has to wonder how much stress the sugar maples will be able to endure as the local climate becomes more and more erratic.
The flip side of this grim picture is the increases in US production over the last few years. We have finally managed to get back up to 1950’s levels. New York State has been holding it’s own in maple production and has finally managed to secure our place as #2 producing state after Vermont. It’s great to be part of something big, and we hope to be at it when New York takes it’s rightful place as #1 producer in the US. New York’s potential has yet to be unleashed with only 2% of our tappable trees in production. www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/New_England_includes/Publications/0605mpl.pdf
Our blog has now been up and running for a month and a half, we broke 300 friends on Facebook and we managed to get some national press coverage (with more to come…). Our IndieGoGo campaign http://igg.me/p/59552?a=365506 has been launched and we have had quite a number of viewers so far. We hope to build on that momentum over the next month with a series of events including a presentation next week at Cooperatve Extension of Tompkins County in Ithaca http://ccetompkins.org/calendar/12/02/01/%C2%ADmaple-syrup-past-present-future-sapsquatch
a table at the annual CSA Fair on March 3rd, and of course, NY State Maple Weekends at the end of March. Plans are underway for an epic end-of-season fundraiser bash on Erath Day weekend at the end of April, so stay tuned for details.