Let the Tapping Begin!

Alright – Mother Nature woke up and decided it’s time to get us out of the frozen temps into something more appropriate for March!  This weekend we’re hanging lines and tapping trees in anticipation of the warm weather coming starting early next week.  Plan is to have our first boil (and therefore first tours) on Saturday, March 14.  Check back during the week for exact details.

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Anticipating 2015 Season

It’s been a long time since our last post!  We had a great summer and fall, and now seem to be stuck in winter for the foreseeable future.  We typically have our first boil right around the first of March, which would be this weekend.  Unfortunately we are stuck in a cold snap, and until the weather turns a bit warmer the sap will remain frozen in the trees.  Ideal temperatures for sap to flow are 40’s during the day and below freezing at night.  I think we have the nights figured out…we just need some warm days!

Given the weather situation, we won’t be able to boil the weekend of February 28 or the weekend of March 7.  We will watch the temperatures closely and hope that we see a turnaround so we can host tours during the weekend of March 14.

Maple is the first crop of the year, kicking off the agricultural season.  In New England the sugaring season is typically 4 weeks in duration, extending through month of March.  With the late start this year you may wonder if the season will extend until the middle of April. We can’t predict for certain when it will end, but there are two major factors that come into play.

The first factor is the temperature.  We need variation between warm days (40+ degrees) and cold nights (below freezing).  This variation is what causes the sap to move between the roots and branches of the tree.  During that movement is when the sap travels past our taps, resulting in what is considered a “flow day”.  There are usually between 14-17 days during the month of March where we see those temperatures.  By the time April comes, the nighttime temperatures are usually not low enough, therefore the sap remains in the tree roots unable to pass by our taps.

The second factor, which is also tied to weather, is when the trees begin to bud.  Once we see buds on the trees,  the sap changes flavor and therefore is not usable for making syrup.

So given those two factors, it is likely that the season will still end by the end of March, but only Mother Nature knows how long she will keep us in this frozen state!

We will update the website as well as our facebook page as we know more.  Fingers crossed…and searching for a “hurry up Spring” dance!

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2104 Maple Season Comes to a Close

Although the season was short it was another great one, thanks to the nearly 2.000 visitors who came out during the last 3 weekends of March.  We produced 71 gallons of syrup, which is beyond what we had projected for this very short 2014 season.  Now we are on to cleanup activities starting today.  We will be in the field washing and taking down all of our lines, an annual ritual that starts the “season of cleaning” for TLMF.  Tomorrow will start the cleaning of hoses and equipment in the sugar house.

If you are looking for syrup, it can be purchased at J&M or Butcher Boy in North Andover, or at Elia’s Country Store in Wilmington or at Ryers Country Store in North Reading.  If you cannot find what you’re looking for, please send an email to info@turtlelanemaplefarm.com and we can help you.  (Email is better than phone calls as we are not so good at returning calls.)  We also have some maple candy, maple cream and maple sugar at the farm if you are interested,  just drop us a note and we can coordinate a day/time for you to pick it up.  We do not ship – that’s a whole other set of time consuming activities that we simply cannot undertake, so apologies to those of you who are not local.

Have a great year, and please look us up next year!

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Another Great Weekend

Wow – what a fantastic  weekend on the farm!  We had 770 visitors over the weekend – a great turnout!  Sold out of cream again, and this time we made a double batch.  So this week we will make a TRIPLE batch to ensure we have enough to last through Sunday.  We’ll also be making more maple candy for all our sugar-freaks out there.  We will be boiling this upcoming weekend, March 29-30, and it will likely be our last weekend so if you’re looking to come now is the time!

Tours last about an hour and run back-to-back all day Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 4pm.  There are no set start times as it all depends on how many people are there but no matter what time you come you are guaranteed to find a tour in progress so just come on in and join the fun!  It’s still a bit muddy on the way out back to the sugar house as we still have snow melting…and more will be coming before the weekend.  Really – this is spring?!?!  Hope to see you this weekend!

A friendly reminder that we are inviting you to our sugar house, but not into our home.  You are welcome to come out back and explore all you want around the sugar house.  However, please respect the fact that this is also our home, and we are not inviting you to come up onto our front porch or onto our back deck.  Please do not walk through the back yard onto our patio or off the path into our pool area or on our front lawn over to our pond.  Last weekend for the first time we had quite a few people in places they didn’t belong, and there was some damage done to our personal property, which was really quite disappointing.  So please keep track of your children and please respect our personal property.  The path to the sugar house runs along the right side of the house (as you look at the house), and when you leave you should follow the same path back out front.  If anyone needs to use the bathroom there is a port-a-potty out front next to the driveway for your convenience.  We have several recycle bins and a trash barrel in the sugar house for you to dispose of anything you need, so please don’t leave trash on the ground or in our driveway or in the street.  We truly enjoy having visitors and want to continue inviting the community so let’s all work together to keep this possible.

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Preparing for the Weekend

We will be open for tours this weekend from 9am-4pm on Saturday & Sunday, March 22 & 23.  No advance reservations are required and there is no fee for the tour.  Drop by when it is convenient and there is guaranteed to be a tour underway.  We run back-to-back all day so if you come in the middle of a tour just join the group and stay for the beginning of the next one.

For those of you who came late on Sunday last weekend when we were out of cream, not to worry for this weekend!  Tonight we will be making a DOUBLE BATCH so there will certainly be enough to last all weekend.  Tomorrow night we will be making candy, and it looks like we will might have 5 consecutive nights of sap flow before the next cold snap starts on Monday.  It’s looking like a good week on the farm.

If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend to get you out of the house, swing by for some sticky, sweet fun!  It’s a bit muddy with all the snow still melting, so be prepared with the right footwear.  Hope to see you!

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