I am so bad at updating my info on here I need to do a better job but I get so busy. Always crazy doing something.
The 2023 season is now underway. I started tapping February 5th the sap has run like gang busters and I have already processed over 3000 gallons of sap at the time of this update (2/23) which is good because I am fearing the worst with this weird winter weather. I am hoping the trees don't bud early but you never know.
We are now frozen up for the next 5 or 6 days it will give me time to get things cleaned up, get some syrup bottled and confections made and of course some much need rest and sleep. but most of all getting ready for the up coming NH Maple Weekend. March 18th and 19th.
YES, we will be open for Maple Weekend. March 18th and 19th from 10am to 3pm both days rain or shine. I will have all the favorites Maple cream, candy, BBQ sauce, seasonings, mustard and of course maple syrup. The made so far has been a little Dark/robust and VeryDark/strong grades as usual its delicious. My dark syrup I usually save for glass and confections if I get any so that is where that will go. We are excited to have people out in the mud getting their boots and shoes dirty and smelling the sweet steam.
We do have more mud than usual so be sure to wear proper shoes all this freeze/warm rain, freeze warm rain and destroyed my already bad driveway. We will have some samples for everyone to try. Most likely bringing back the refreshments and hopefully the maple hot dogs. Masks outside and in the sugarhouse will be optional if you feel the need to wear them please do it does get a little crowded in the sugarhouse so do whatever you are comfortable doing but getting out is the idea. My Wife will have her yurt studio open and she may require masks in the art studio regardless of CDC and state regulation and vaccination status thank you for understanding and you will need to take your shoes off in there as well. it is a very unique space and I highly recommend you check it out even if you are not into art.
We haven't picked a charity yet. How the charity works is I purchase the hot dogs buns beverages etc. then sell them and whatever we make in donations and beverage and hotdog sales I match 100% dollar for dollar to our Charity. We have donated to animal rescues, baby animal rescues, miniture horse recue, NHASPCA, Mary's dogs, and a few others not sure how much have donated over the years but it is getting up there.
So with the rising costs of e-commerce online shopping. (the costs have doubled) I have decided to do a product/sales page. I won't have it up until after the maple season is over but how it will work is you can contact me via email with what you would like and I will calculate shipping and you can pay via paypal or venmo. Once I have confirmation of payment then I send off the package. I know its a little longer of a process but it will save you money in the long run. I have been doing this as of late and it seems to be working quite well. I have seen a few other small business go this route lately with the costs going up so high. Until I have that up please feel free to contact me at my email: Bradrice@comcast.net or a Facebook messenger message at my page Brad Rice. We can schedule a ball park time for pick up at the farm stand and you can leave the money the Box. Cash or checks made out to Willow Creek Sugarhouse or Brad Rice. or I can ship it.
We are always looking for more trees to tap. With the increased demand for local syrup, We need more trees. So If anyone is local to me, and has woods that are just sitting there why not lease out your trees for maple production. I will be looking for blocks of maples trees of about 100+ tappable (10 inches in diameter minimum) trees will need be preferably sugar maples (for buckets) but also can be red, sliver, or norway maples. (these may be located in swampy areas as well). The leased trees will be based on $$$ per tap based on type of trees (sugar maples produce more sap/syrup than red maple) and how things are setup gravity vs vacuum tubing etc. All the details will need to be worked out on an individual basis depending on set up and lease agreement. Will need a 110 power supply at the site for smaller maple orchards and if there are 500 or more trees a 220 line may be needed. No more than a 10 to maybe 15 minute drive to the sugar bush as the tank will need to be emptied daily as well as pump servicing and turning them on and off as well.
We are always looking for more road side trees as well. These must be sugar maples 10" in diameter or greater. They will also need to be local and sorta on my route of collecting as they will need to emptied daily. I usually pay those in syrup depending how many trees there are to be collected from but that can also be negotiated.
The farm stand is always open. As soon as I get some of this years syrup bottled we will get it out there. I have lots of eggs right now so be sure to stop by and get some they are $4 a dozen always have been no change or price gouging. The price of organic feed is already expensive but I still haven't raised the egg prices. If there are other confections you are in need of please ask I usually have a small amount of the other stuff on hand outside of maple weekend and craft fairs. PLEASE BE CAREFUL my driveway is a mess like everyone's unpaved driveway. Ice & Mud are always a plague we deal with.
As usual my bees didn't make it last year. Had 2 hives going into the winter but they both took off I guess they didn't want to stay. I have 4 more packages on order and should be picking them up in April. I didn't get much honey last summer hoping for a better crop this year.
Eggs for sale again. With limited daylight only get 10 to 12 eggs a day but any surplus will be in the farm stand. We only use organic feed and what they forage for and some kitchen scraps. Price of feed is on the increase but they are still $4.00 for now. the eggs should be large or better in size. I weight and sort them. Large...2oz, X-large 2.25oz, Jumbo 2.50oz. the biggest we ever had was I think 4.5 oz. it was huge!!!
Garden needs an overhaul. that will be in a couple of months. Needs some real work. We'll get it done as always!!!
well for the 2020 season I finally broke down and got a brand new horizontal electric releaser. from Maple Expert Solutions(MES) Its AWESOME. No more collection tank out side its a completely closed system. I love it. It has a stainless steel deep well pump that runs on a float switch and when its full it trips a float switch and pumps out the sap into the 500 gallons stainless tank in the RO room.
For the 2022 season: Back in July 2021 I ordered a Brand new Atlas Copco rotary vein vacuum pump. Didn't come in until November. I haven't installed it yet but that I will getting that going shortly. My old Vacuum pump finally blew out the seals and was going through a ton of oil just trying to keep it going last year. really limped through the end of the season with it I bought it VERY used for about $280, 6 or 7 years ago put on a new motor. So I would say I got more than my money's worth out of it. Very Excited about the new pump.