It’s late winter, and we at Eight Gate Farm briefly stir from hibernation to produce the first harvest of the season…pure natural maple syrup!
|Pure maple syrup|
The sap will begin rising when we get stretches of (comparatively) warm days and cold nights. It could be as early as mid-February, or as late as mid-March. This year, it started on February 15 and ran for a couple of days before colder weather shut it down. It resumed a few days later. By February 24, ahead of another cold snap, we deemed we had enough sap to get a good harvest, so we pulled the taps. Our needs are not that great, but we love what we get. Pictured is 3 quarts in sealed jelly jars. This will preserve well.
Just in case you are wondering, the sap from sugar maple trees is about 2% sugar in a good year, and has a consistency like water. The standard is 40:1 sap to syrup.
While the source itself is of course free, there are still production costs. This year we spent $30 on propane fuel for the boiler. Oh yes, one more thing. There’s a federal law that propane tanks more than 12 years old cannot be refilled. I’ve dodged this in the past, but this year one of the guys at the filling station was a stickler, and read the date stamped on my tank. It was over 25 years old (oops!), and he wouldn’t fill it. So that was another (ouch) $55 for a new tank.
Okay, the hibernation part is not strictly true. We have started our vegetables that have long maturities.
|Seed starts under lights|
On the upper rack in this picture you can see the alliums, parsley, and celery that were started February 15, and the lower rack has the artichoke plants started February 1. But that’s all until late March, when I’ll start brassicas and maybe peppers. There won’t be any true Harvest Monday posts until the asparagus comes in. See you then! Thanks to our awesome host Dave at HappyAcres.blog for keeping Harvest Monday going.