The 2022 season is now underway. I got tapped in a few weeks ago started to make some syrup and then things just froze up for the past week. which gave me some time to get some confections done and start to get ready for maple weekend. Yes we will be open for maple weekend!!! March 19th and 20th.
YES, we will be open for Maple Weekend. March 19th and 20th 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 majority of the syrup is Very/dark grade as usual its delicious. If I get any dark or amber before then it will be in very limited quantity. We are excited to have people out in the mud getting their boots and shoes dirty and smelling the sweet steam. I will tell everyone upfront that things will be scaled back from before covid. We will have syrup samples but not the refreshments, so no maple hot dogs sorry. Masks outside and in the sugarhouse will be optional if you feel the need to wear them please do. There will only be a pass through the sugarhouse. I will explain the process outside the main door. 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 will be having a fund raiser for a friend of mine who runs a baby wild animal rescue facility out in Derry NH. More details to come.
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 I just received a case of Quart containers. They are a little different than the usual NH association containers I use. Like everything else availability is limited and price has gone up by almost 25% although for now that won't trickle to my retail sales for now. I have 17 new layer hens that have slowed because of the amount of daylight but I have been getting about a dozen eggs a day so if you are lucky you might get a dozen $4.00 each. The price of organic feed is already expensive and is also on the rise but they are still $4.00 a dozen for now. 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. I did do 3 new packages again this year. so down sizing again. The 4 hives I do have are very strong heading into winter. Unfortunately This is the second year in a row I didn't get a honey crop for some reason. Last year I thought it was drought this year too much rain???? Who knows? In any case I am hoping I can get them through the winter this year.
Eggs for sale again. Got 17 (well already down to 16...because , well, fox) just put a light in the hen house to boost laying they are all laying now. 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!!!
Well it started out great then it rained for almost the entire month of July. Got a bunch of beans and a bumper crop of Basil haven't had that much in a few years so I replenished my Pesto supply in the freezer. Not much else a few tomatoes couple of cuccs and couple of butternut squash. I now have a ground hog too he wiped out a bunch of corn but what I did get was very good.
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 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.