News from the Farm Date: April 5, 2013
already the first week of April, and typically the end of sugaring
season in CT. It looks like that may hold true for this year, as the
weather forecast is calling for warm temps at night after this weekend,
and without a freeze, there will be no more sap flow. All in all, it has
been a great season this year. Arlow started tapping in the middle of
January, (which was early for CT) and we had some good sap runs. We
actually never made dark amber syrup yet this year, as the cold temps
provided for everything like the sap tubing and collecting tanks to stay
clean and not get swanky. Yes, it is "swank" that allows dark amber
syrup to be made. It is fermentation in the sap that darkens the color.
Arlow is very good about keeping everything clean and washed, and we
made nothing but light syrup this year, and medium amber that was still
on the light side. No "dark side" Master Yoda! I've always preferred
the lighter colored syrup anyways, but some people like the darker,
stronger flavored ambers. Arlow would have to let the sap sit around
for awhile and make a slow boil to get it to come out dark. After the
sap stops running, there is a lot of work to do to take down all the
equipment, wash it, and put it away for next year. And then of course it
is time to sell the crop. While many customers do make the trip to our
farm, we peddle it at local farmers markets during June through October.
A few local businesses also sell our syrup, so there are other options
besides coming here. We have not ventured in to online sales, as we
don't have the capacity to do shipping right now, but we don't feel the
need to start.
You can be sure that we make our own maple syrup, as we
invite visitors anytime to come see our sugarhouse and watch us make
syrup during sugaring season. Don't be fooled by so called "family
farms" that simply buy bulk syrup, repackage it, and put their own label
on it! There are plenty of people that do that. It's "legal" but not so
honest. If maple sugaring isn't their passion and if they don't have
extreme knowledge of the topic, they probably are just trying to make a
buck under a "farm" label.
Soon we will be hatching chicks, ordering
seeds, and planning our gardening season. Our first crops to show up are
the strawberries and lettuces in June. Keep up with us via our facebook
page. Just search for Sweet Wind Farm in the search box, or click here:
You will find out all the latest happenings, see pictures from time to
time, and get some great recipes. Happy Spring to all!
News from the Farm
Newsletter Date: June 23, 2012
The weather this Spring certainly has been a roller coaster ride, but we farmers have to roll with it and take it as it comes. It's already officially Summertime, wow! We have most of our seed crops in the ground and growing along nicely: peas, beans, summer squash, zucchini, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, leeks, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, radishes, zinnias, cosmos, gladiolus, salvia, snapdragons, dill, cilantro, basil, all kinds of pumpkins and winter squash, gourds, and probably something else I'm forgetting to list. Of course we have our own strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. As I write this strawberry season is coming to an end and our blueberries are starting to ripen. We were able to acquire over 120 mature blueberry bushes from a farm in Enfield, and transplant them here. Now we have doubled the amount of our bushes. It will take a few years before these bushes will recover from being transplanted and severely pruned, but we hope to have a great blueberry crop for years to come. We have to decide if we want to make the investment of purchasing and installing bird netting to prevent our crop from disappearing. We already have netting over some of our bushes and it helps immensely. We have heard of other farms who employ "shotgun" scares, a noise making device that sounds off periodically to scare off the birds, or ones who blast a radio all day, but these solutions sound a bit nerve wracking. Doing nothing ensures that the birds have an all you can eat buffet though. There's always nature to battle when trying to raise food. It's either birds, insects, bad weather, or other varmints. Last year our major obstacle was the weather, it rained far too much. Whatever it is that we have to spent our efforts combating, it makes the harvest that much more precious and wonderful, and we hope you think so too! Come visit us at our farm this summer, or at one of the markets we attend. Find us on facebook where you can keep up with the latest happenings, or find my seasonal recipes that I post. Have a great summer!
News from the Farm
Newsletter Date: February 12, 2012
We are well into sugaring season here at our farm, and it started a month earlier than usual. Typically in CT it starts in mid-February, this year we started in mid-January with tapping trees. We have already made over 100 gallons, but that's a small amount compared to last year's harvest, so let's hope that sugaring season lasts long enough to get a good crop in. Some sugar makers are wondering whether this year's strange weather with unusually warm winter temps and lack of snow cover means a poor season, or a short season, or one that ends sooner than the typical time of the end of March or beginning of April. Well, all we can say is we can never know what kind of sugaring season we are going to have until it is all over. We are going to make the best of it and "make syrup while the sap runs". We certainly hope that we are still in the middle of sugaring when the date of our 6th annual Maple Festival comes up on March 10th. Normally the second Saturday of March is in the middle of the season. Who knows, it may be at the end of it if the earlier start predicts the ending time. Arlow has just about tapped all of the trees he intends to tap this year, so all that is left is praying for good sap runs, collecting and boiling. There's a lot of work to be done yet!
This year Arlow decided to purchase a new, small vacuum pump to install on the tubeline on our family farm. Most of this tubeline is on level land, so it is difficult to get gravity to work for us in bringing the sap down the line. Most sugar makers these days use these systems. It helps by giving a small amount of suction pressure on every tap that is installed on the same line. We can't possibly put a vacuum on every tubeline we have out there, afterall, we tap trees in several different towns and areas. But it seemed to make sense to put one on our largest tubeline and be able to get a better crop out of this too short of a season. Sap only runs for an average of 6 weeks, and that's it! Once the buds pop out on the trees or the temps stop falling below freezing at night, it's all she wrote! We have to capitalize on the opportunity! And no, it does NOT hurt the trees. We invest in the care and health of the trees we tap as we have a lot to rely on here for our future.
After last year's awesome record breaking year for us and just about any other sugar maker around, and remembering the year before that which was the worst season ever for CT, we can only hope that we at least make out somewhere in the middle of the two. You are welcome to come visit us in the sugarhouse when we are boiling anytime, please call ahead to find out when that will be. Don't forget the Maple Fest, you can check out the details on our Events and Classes page. We hope you can come visit us this year, and as always, you can come out to the farm at anytime to purchase maple products.
"Everything tastes sweeter at Sweet Wind Farm"
Our Maple Products
Maple Syrup in 3.4oz jugs, Half pints, Pint, Quart, Half gallon, and Gallon jugs
Maple Syrup in Glass leaf shaped bottles, 50 ml, 100ml. and 250 ml. size
Maple Syrup in 40 ml and 50 ml "nip" bottles-great for wedding favors!
Maple Sugar Candy in individual cello bags, and boxed
Maple Granulated Sugar in shaker containers.
Maple Jelly 4 oz. and 8 oz. jar
Maple Cream in 1/2 lb. and 1 lb. tubs
Maple Lollipops in assorted shapes
Assorted Jams and Jellies
Maple Baked Beans Kit
Gift Baskets made to order with any of above listed products.