The Tapatree blog is a forum for an amalgam of interests in our little community of Zoar Road, Rodman, New York, presently centered on crafting small batches of seasonal syrups, both Northern Black Walnut and Sugar Maple.

Seasonal changes: Welcome to summer!

It must be summer! The signs are here… We are having more dinners outside on the deck than inside at the table. The kids have moved all their bedding into tents near the woods. Peepers have yielded the pond chorus to the bullfrogs. I saw a lightning bug. It’s summer.

Will works for syrup

I had visions of flipping a switch and watching the syrup travel up a line, against gravity, to a truck which would then back up to the sugar shack and connect right into the evaporator. Too easy! But, that’s not quite how it went.

Spoons down!

Spoons down! Yesterday marked the last numbered batch of syrup heading into Zoar Tapatree bottles…#20. It would have been lucky batch #21, but we couldn’t bear to have a #13, so there you go! Where is that thirteenth batch? It was collected and finished on a full...

Small Batches, Big Taste

Tucked in at the edge of the snowy Tug Hill Plateau and situated upon deep limestone beds, we believe you’ll taste the difference the terroir of our forests makes to the end product. Consequently, we wanted to give our own taste impressions of each batch, and we’d love to hear what your buds report, as well!

Taste test # 106

She pronounced Batch #1 as having a light, toasted nutty flavor with a lot of depth; Batch #2 as a bold, sweet syrup with a thicker body. Batch #3 is cooling now, so you’ll have to wait for a Jeri Analysis on that one… The kids were divided.

Blizzards and clouds of steam

As the temperatures fell from the high 20’s to the mid-teens, the wind howled and the snow blasted around the sap house, we fired up the evaporator and got to work. It was quite a sight as the steam boiled off the sap and the snow blew through.

Tapped Out

The dripping crystal droplets taunted us with their sparkles throughout the forest as we worked from tree to tree with our rolls of tubing, tools and collection containers.

Winter projects

Somewhere before lining the windowsills with trays of seeds and after putting the fields to rest for winter, Paul’s ever-restless project gene hatched a plan for the boiler room. Worms. Red wigglers (sprinkled with some native worms from the fields), to be precise.

Snow dance

The horses have paths all around their pastures (albeit closer to the barn), the cats have stuck to the hay loft or house, and the dogs are tag teaming the snow based on height. Our neighbors, Jim and Cathy, report that their adventuresome feline was tunneling through the snow–pretty impressive!

Hexes, exes and other signs…

My favorite Christmas present this past season was a beautiful, hand-painted Hex sign from Pennsylvania Dutch country. The beauty of the barns in Pennsylvania is really unmatched except on Zoar Road

Melting…

This is a “ramping up” year and we are trying out different techniques and timing, particularly with the black walnut trees. Paul is noticing that the lower density of the black walnuts seems to be impacting when the sap is flowing as compared to the denser sugar maples.

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