Musings from the barrel room – March 2023

The March winds howl – over 65 mph last week and the blow lasted for over 24 hours. Thankfully, only 40-45 mph most of the time. Dogs, cats, cows, bees, and people all huddled out of the wind. We even stopped pruning – no way to be on a ladder in those gusts. Even so, many fruit buds are still swelling as the weather warms. Looks like everything will bloom almost 3 weeks early this year. Wonder how that will affect harvest time. Guess that also will depend on rainfall and May/June temperatures. We will keep you posted.

Enough complaining, right?? 

On the plus side, we are “sugaring-off” in our second annual “syruping” this month – maple and walnut syrups in the works. About 100 folks came by on the first chilly weekend to see “the old and new” methods of “sugaring-off” as friends Taylor, Alex, Joanne, and Rob joined us to cook. Our effort is a 3-farm collaboration (with Fox Haven and Two Goats) to demonstrate how the process works, answer questions, encourage people to try making syrup on their own, and offer folks an opportunity to purchase the products when finished by the end of the month. Some sap boiled over wood in a barrel and other sap steamed in stainless evaporator heated by propane. After the weekend of cooking, the maple smells and tastes of caramel while the walnut offers a sweet nutty flavor. The maple requires about 40 gallons of sap for a gallon of syrup while the walnut needs about 60 gallons of sap for that same gallon. The erratic late winter weather has rendered our sap harvest sketchier this year, but we still should make enough syrup to fill orders with some left over for sale and experimentation in cocktail construction, a new and soon-to-occur event in the tasting room.

We have baby calves!!! Yes, tiny black and white lumps lying the newly greening grass. Last week a big low-pressure system blew through followed by full moon and suddenly there are 3 new babies – two heifers and a bull-now-steer. And two of the babies are to first-time moms; all are doing well and lots of bonding has been going on. The new Moms figured it out in a hurry – Mother Nature is amazing. 

Belties – Linda Harrison-Parsons

Planting chard, kale and choi into beds and transplanting more figs, strawberries, blueberries, lilacs, blackberries, and tomatoes into larger pots as we prepare for the season. We will have lots of plants available in April. Grafting apples and pears in the next 2 weeks as we continue making over a few trees into better cider and eating varieties. We will have some fruit trees available as well.

Our tasting room is open for the season as of last weekend. Our new whiskey-barrel-aged ciders and our new Stayman cider are ready for a try. Each is a dry, light, bright, and distinctive cider. I suspect several will bring us metals in competitions. We invite you to visit on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the near future!!!

Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm