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Thread: Historical Trends in Massachusetts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Needham, MA
    Posts
    95

    Default Historical Trends in Massachusetts

    I'm wondering if people could post historical trends about when they start tapping in Massachusetts. I'm in the MetroWest area. And do you have links to other sites with this data that you can share?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Albion PA
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    Ok I will bite. Im a long way from Mass.
    Historical data is great but Accuweather forecasts in today's world are pretty darn good and tapping can be looked at a week out with pretty good results too.
    With weather seaming to change, maybe its global warming? Iam not going to argue about that. What you should look for (as I am sure you know) are the normal above and below freezing temps to begin the maple sap flow. Have your equipment ready and tap when you see that trend in the weather. The rest will happen and you will have your own data point. I like mid Feb in our area. But have been lured into tapping in late January!
    Regards,
    Chris
    Casbohm Maple and Honey
    640 ish roadside taps
    3x10 King, WRU & preheater, AOF [TRS] and AUF
    SIRO Filter Press.
    2015 Ford F250 PSD sap hauler
    One hives of bees
    One Golden named Maggie Cat named Lucy
    Too many Cub Cadets
    Ford Jubilee and several Allis WD's, and IH tractors

    www.mapleandhoney.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    315

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ntatar View Post
    I'm wondering if people could post historical trends about when they start tapping in Massachusetts. I'm in the MetroWest area. And do you have links to other sites with this data that you can share?
    My sugarbush is in the foothills of the Berkshires - way west of you, and probably 700 feet more altitude. That said, I'll bite. I have figured out for the last few years, based on retrospective temps, when would have been the optimal time for me to tap. For reference, I'm on buckets (might be way different for tubes with good vacuum):

    2012: 6 Feb (a weird warm year)
    2013: 4 Mar
    2014: 8 Mar
    2015: 9 Mar
    2016: 17 Feb
    2017: 18 Feb
    2018: 9 Feb

    My actual tap dates:
    2016: 27 Feb - first year, still gathering supplies, not ready earlier
    2017: 18 Feb - tracking weather really closely, got lucky on hitting the sweet spot in timing
    2018: 20 Jan - Way too early (which I knew at the time) but I had a baby and wanted to insure sap wouldn't spoil if I couldn't get to it for a while.

    By the way, I will probably aim for tapping a week or so after the optimal time this year, because I'm still very short on time, what with the one-year-old. So I plan to have a short season of only four or five weeks, and I want to be collecting sap when the trees are running hardest.

    Cheers,

    Gabe
    2016: First year. Homemade evaporator out of little woodburning stove with steam tray pans. 6 taps on buckets. 1.1 galls syrup
    2017: Same little homemade evaporator, but souped up. Still 2 steam tray pans. 15 taps on buckets. 4.5 galls syrup.
    2018: Same setup. Limited time (New baby!) Downsized to 12 taps and short season. 2.2 gallons syrup.
    2019: Still very limited time, with a one-year-old. Downsized even further to 7 taps and a short season. 2.1 gallons syrup

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    315

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ntatar View Post
    And do you have links to other sites with this data that you can share?
    Hourly historical weather for a given day: https://www.wunderground.com/history...=Massachusetts
    Monthly historical temperatures: w2.weather.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=box

    Cheers!

    GO
    2016: First year. Homemade evaporator out of little woodburning stove with steam tray pans. 6 taps on buckets. 1.1 galls syrup
    2017: Same little homemade evaporator, but souped up. Still 2 steam tray pans. 15 taps on buckets. 4.5 galls syrup.
    2018: Same setup. Limited time (New baby!) Downsized to 12 taps and short season. 2.2 gallons syrup.
    2019: Still very limited time, with a one-year-old. Downsized even further to 7 taps and a short season. 2.1 gallons syrup

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Warren, MA
    Posts
    126

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    I haven't been doing this as long as many others on here, but for where I am (Central, MA) I find that I usually tap around Valentine's Day. Because I have to work a "real" job, it actually turns out to be the weekend before or after Valentine's day. I recently had to travel for business. The dates that were offered were the first week of February, the last week of February, or the second week of March. Based on the choices, the first week of February (historically) would be the safest bet for me. I got off the plane on Saturday and my text messages lit up with pictures of one of my fellow Mass sugar makers evaporator boiling away. He had collected 700 gallons of sap the week I was travelling.
    This week looks lousy. I'm waiting to see what the long range looks like to determine if I should begin tapping this weekend or not. Bottom line; with any type of farming, mother nature has the final call! Good luck!
    2016 - 2 x 4 Randy Worthen built arch and pans (just starting out!) 11 taps; 2.625 gallons of syrup!
    2017 - 29 taps; 11.625 gallons of syrup!
    2018 - 30 taps; 98 pints bottled! 2x4 Arch and pans sold! New sugar house being built, new equipment coming!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    colrain,ma
    Posts
    215

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    Started in '72 in Southampton (lower Ct. river valley) and back then we always tapped winter vacation weekend,now it's called president's day,roughly 3rd week of Feb. As I remember we always complained about missing the first run. Back in those days we had a 6 week window and that was it,bucket spouts clogged up with pretty white goo and the plastic spouts we used were used year after year so they clogged up too. It's alot different today with fresh plastic in the trees every year,you don't have to be anywere near as precise with timing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Princeton, MA
    Posts
    334

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    Here is when I have started tapping for the past 20+ years. Prior to 2015 I had all buckets so I tended to tap later in season. I have many more taps out now, and mostly tubing, so I can afford to start earlier than I used to. I can't say that I always tapped at the correct time, sometimes a bit too early, sometimes a bit late, but generally close. We are in central Mass at 1000' elevation on the shoulder of Mt Wachusett so the climate is more like western Mass.

    2019 Feb 23 (planned)
    2018 Feb 10, 14
    2017 Feb 18
    2016 Feb 19
    2015 Feb 28
    2014 Mar 8
    2013 Mar 3
    2012 Feb 28
    2011 Mar 5
    2010 Mar 5
    2009 Mar 7
    2008 Mar 2
    2007 Mar 3
    2006 Mar 8
    2005 Mar 16
    2004 Feb 29
    2003 Mar 15
    2002 Feb 24
    2001 Mar 11
    2000 Mar 3
    1999 Feb 14 (too early)
    1998 Feb 20
    1997 Mar 8

    I have records of tapping in Chesterfield (buckets only) going back to the 70's so if I get a chance to dig them out I will post them.

    Dave
    Mountain Maple farm
    2019: 180 taps, 60 on gravity, 100+ on vacuum using my programmable S3 controllers
    New website:
    https://www.mountainmaplefarm.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MountainMapleFarm/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Needham, MA
    Posts
    95

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    This is great! Thank you Dave. I'm in the metrowest area also and planning for the same weekend.
    Last edited by Ntatar; 02-14-2019 at 08:37 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boston Metro West MA
    Posts
    161

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    Great detail, Dave. I'm likely to tap weekend after next. Yesterday, I noticed the first taps in around me... a small group of trees on tubing. There are a few other folks within a mile of me, and I haven't seen any of them go in yet.

    Nick, as an aside, I've often used Drumlin Farm's tapping as a guide, I took a one day class on sugarin' when I first wanted to start... I do know that they've just put a few taps in the last week, but apparently they've had very little dripping so far. They said the rest will almost definitely go in next week.
    ~Janet

    2019 - 6th year sugarin'. 2nd year using propane. 13 taps. Just over 3/4 gal syrup. Light in color and flavor.
    Intent to build a new barrel evaporator with my son this summer. Still don't weld. We'll see how it goes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Needham, MA
    Posts
    95

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    Thanks Janet! I've tapped this last weekend in Feb and been pretty happy 2 years. I'm going from a dozen trees to 35 this year and have just realized how much knowledge lives within this group. Nice to be connected to folks in the area this year!

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