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Despite the shortcomings of the weather this maple season, a complete line of Maple Syrup is now available in all sizes. Half-pints, Pints, and Quarts of three grades: Now known as: Amber, Dark, and Very Dark.
Maine has adopted the International grading standards for Maple Syrup. This results in Four classes of Grade A syrup:
- Golden color with a Delicate taste is the lightest grade. This is the syrup formerly known as Light Amber, and has similar characteristics to what is called “Fancy” in Vermont.
- Amber color with a Rich taste is the next grade. This was formerly known as Medium Amber.
- Dark color with Robust taste is the syrup formerly known as Dark Amber. This makes a great multiple purpose syrup.
- Very Dark color with Strong taste includes syrup previously called Extra Dark Amber, except the color range has been broadened to include any good flavored syrup that is darker than “Dark.” Under prior grading systems this syrup may have been called “B” grade. It’s strong flavor makes it great for cooking or flavoring, yet many folks prefer this grade on their pancakes or waffles as well.
Syrup may be in short supply this year. We increased from 800 to 1100 taps this year, but have so far made only a little over half the total amount of syrup that we made last year. As such the price has had to increase a little to cover all the work that goes in to the crop regardless of result.
Now is the time to stock your freezer with Cider for the coming summer. While we expect to be able to press through most of April we have a surplus of apples at the moment that won’t keep quite that long.
We should have McIntosh for a couple more weeks. These that we are sorting out right now are some of the earliest picked and are still fairly crunchy considering the time of year. Of course I keep telling people to throw the calendar away! With 4 feet of snow in the orchard and nighttime temperatures below zero this is still January! We still have some Northern Spies, Mildings, Golden and Red Delicious.
Maple sap should start running this week. If you see steam rising from our Maple Sugar house please stop in for a tour.
We expect to have apples through the end of March, although the selection will be limited towards the end of the month. We should be able to continue pressing cider into early April. Stock your freezers soon!
Mark your calendars to join us for Maine Maple Sunday on March 23rd. With any luck we will have some weather above freezing before then so the sap will run.
With the flurry of customers over the weekend we are sad to report that the Honeycrisp variety is sold out for this season. We are also very low on Cortlands and will probably be out of those by the end of the week.
We have plenty of McIntosh, Northern Spies, Red and Golden Delicious, and a few Empires, Russets, Mildings, and a few others. We are still pressing cider regularly and February is the best month to stock your freezer for the long hot summer.
We still have apples, and we are still making fresh Cider. We should have Cortlands into February, McIntosh through March, Red and Golden Delicious through April, and Northern Spies into May. We still have Honeycrisp as well. Honeycrisp are keeping amazingly well and seem to be as crunchy now as when they were first picked.
Now is a perfect time to stock your freezer with cider for the long dry summer when we don’t make any. There are two things to keep in mind about freezing cider:
1) Take a cupful or so out of each jug to give the freezing cider room to expand.
2) Be Patient! Allow the Cider to thaw completely and shake for best flavor. Otherwise the sweetest part of the cider will thaw first making your first glass indescribably good, however, the rest of your cider will be watery, more like that store bought stuff.
This apple has a special leaf print
Spring is always a busy time here at Rollins Orchards. Right now we are busy making maple syrup. Earlier this spring we hung nearly 200 buckets on maple trees around our farm. Now we are boiling the maple sap down into delicious golden maple syrup. We now have fresh maple syrup available here, as well as 10 varieties of apples, and of course our freshly pressed apple cider. We expect to have apples and cider through April.
if you are in the neighborhood stop in for a tour on Maine Maple Sunday, March 25th, from noon to 4pm we will be giving tours of our new sugarhouse, and some other aspects of the farm as well. Hope to see you soon!
Stephen Bemis stirs the fire in our sap evaporator.
If you are stuck looking for the right gift for someone look no further. A bag of apples and a jug of our cider are a universal gift that anyone will enjoy.
We will have apples and cider right through April this year. The only orchard in this part of Maine that doesn’t close after Christmas. We hope to see you soon!
High Top Sweet
McIntosh (5 different strains)
Cortland (3 different strains)
Crabapples – Old Fashioned, Virginia, Whitney
Milding (Winter Gravenstein)
Northern Spy – Old Fashioned and Double Red
Russet- Roxbury and Golden
4 Varieties of Pears: