Country Maple Farms Shelburn MA Jim and Angel Bragdon
Apr 4, 2016

What a Quick Season

It seems like this sugaring season has come and gone in a flash.  Just like that, its over...


Our season over all was a decent season.  We didn't shatter any records but it wasn't our worst season.  Our first boil was on 2/25/16 and our last boil was on 3/22/16.  Last year our first boil wasn't until 3/15 (thats an educated guess) and we went into April.  Its very interesting how the seasons change year to year.

You already heard about us adding the new fancy vacuum pump to one of our sugar bushes.  This new pump really helped us bring in more sap.  We brought in about 6,000 more gallons than we did last year.

Besides adding the new vaccum pump we added a small sugar bush with the 3/16th pipeline.  The normal size for pipeline is 5/16th.  Now you may be asking yourself why would someone want to switch to a smaller pipeline, won't that restrict the flow?  You do want to be careful that you do not put too many taps on the 3/16 (and 5/16th for that matter).  What they (the people who do the research) have discovered is that if you put a 3/16th pipeline where you have quite a bit of elevation drop from the top of the sugar bush to the bottom you will get a lot of natural vacuum.  We thought we would test this theory out.

The first pipeline we put up with the 3/16th tubing had 33 taps on it.  By the time we got all the taps drilled the line was all ready running full tilt.

We put a vacuum gauge at the top of this pipeline to see what kind of vacuum it was pulling. 

It was pulling 25 inches of vacuum.  Thats the same amount we were getting with our new fancy pump.  However, this amount of vacuum is acheived with gravity.

This video is of Jim cutting a section of pipeline out so we can add a drop line.  Before he adds the drop line he plugs up the pipeline to demonstrate how much sap is running through this pipeline.


We were blown away with how much sap this little sugar bush gave us.  In total this sugar bush had 83 taps.  We put two pickel barrels at the bottom... which I think are about 55 gallons.  That was not enough space.  On days where sap was really running we had to go there more than once and get the sap.

This is all three lines running into one of the pickel barrels...

In this next video we are adding a drop line.  We wanted to show just how much vacuum there is on the pipeline.  The sap gets sucked from one piece to the other where it is not connected yet.

Here is a picture of our big tank where are vacuum system is.  Now thats a full tank!!

I'm sure you've seen wild grape fines growing in the woods.  Have you ever seen any this big?

I think those are the biggest grape fines I have ever seen!

Of course I had to add a picture of the evaporator :)

Here is a neat time lapse video I took of Jake feeding the evaporator.

Well I guess thats a wrap on this years season!