Posts tagged “Industry

Lead testing part I

Mike and I are in the process right now of upgrading our equipment so that we can bring more of the sweet nectar of the Gods to you.

The problem with a lot of the used evaporator pans out there is that they are lead soldered which is considered to be a health risk.

We want to provide our consumers with the best quality product that we can so I thought I would post some of the research that I have done in this respect.

First I found this great consumer report.

It rates 4 different lead inspectors and how they work, the following is taken from the consumer reports website:

Homax Lead Check, $8
Lead Check Household Lead Test Kit, $18.45
These two kits consist of cigarette-shaped swabs, made by the same company, that turn pink when they detect lead. They were the easiest to use and identified accessible lead in toys, ceramic dishware, and vinyl or plastic. If lead concentrations are low, these swabs can take up to two hours to change color, but in our tests high concentrations produced immediate results. The eight-swab Lead Check Household Lead Test Kit pack is a better bargain than the Homax two-swab pack. Its packaging was less susceptible to being crushed.

Lead Inspector, $13
Swabs turn yellow, brown, gray, or black if lead is detected. It can take up to 10 minutes for a color change to occur at low lead levels. The kit, with eight tests, identified accessible lead and might be a good choice for painted metal jewelry. It also might be superior for pink or red items, because if those shades of paint bled onto a Lead Check swab, it might falsely appear to be positive. Have good ventilation and wear gloves to protect skin from chemicals.

First Alert, $13
The four test swabs provided are similar in design to those used in Lead Inspector. But we experienced some false negatives for accessible lead.

Pro-Lab Lead Surface, $10

This kit was less sensitive and more difficult to use. Two small pieces of treated paper are cut to create six tests. The paper is moistened and rubbed on the object, but we found the paper often fell apart before the two-minute rubbing time was over.

Both Lead Inspector and First Alert have videos which showcase these kits

The following is a copy of the email I sent to all the these lead testing kit suppliers:


My name is Dave Chapman and I am a maple syrup producer. Over the past few years our industry has been phasing out lead soldered pans for producing maple syrup.

We are currently looking to upgrade our equipment but want to make certain that any used equipment  we buy is lead solder free.

does the testing kit that you carry have the ability to do this.

Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.

If anyone out there knows of another company that provides these testing kits or you have had experience in these matters please let us know.

Sap to Syrup Business Plan

Alright so I’m sitting here, procrastinating really, getting ready to write a business plan for our Sugarbush.

There’s been a lot of stuff happening in recent days. Mike and Steph (Mike’s fiancee) have successfully cut split and piled 15 cords and wood which will be our fuel this year. This is a definite load off my mind. Mike keeps me really well-informed but I still feel a little apprehensive as I haven’t seen anything, Mike still is not taking any pictures. (I think he wants it to be a surprise)

I have the daunting task to write the entire business plan for the Sugarbush. This is going to help us organize everything that we need in order to push forward. It’s also going to solidify the plane both Mike and I have.

It still doesn’t mean that I am going to enjoy this, I’m written business plans before and boy do they ever take a lot of effort, but I guess that’s why they’re worth it.

alright I’ve killed enough time doing this.
Picture 11

Maple Syrup Insurance

The province of Quebec today is going to help out with some insurance for maple producers. Today Country Guide reported that the “personalized insurance program will cover producers up to a certain volume when their yields are affected by poor climate conditions.” read the full story here.

You can download the English content of the Individual crop insurance information form. The insurance is basically propped up by the province of Quebec. The government pays 60% of the premium and the participant pays 40%. There is a minimum of insureable quota of 2000 pounds and it covers excessive heat, excessive rain and front. The deadline to apply is February 15, 2009 not too much time if you ask me.

Here is the example of how it works found on the back of their Individual Crop Insurance brochure

  1. Producer’s Quota is = 10,000lb
  2. The historical adjustment factor = 0.93 ( I don’t really know )
  3. Which makes the quota = 10,000 lbs x 0.93 = 9,300 lb
  4. There are three options, this is for 80% = 9,300lb x .80 = 7,440lb
  5. The insured value = 7,440 x $1.85/lb = $13,764
  6. payment by government – 2.59% = $356.49 (60%)
  7. payment by participant -  1.72% = $236.74 (40%)

so by this same model if you only make 6000 lbs your loss is 7440 – 6000 = 1,440 lb. This would entitle the participant to 1,440 x $1.85/lb = $2,664.

I used the same numbers because I don’t know if there are clauses with other numbers and there are no legal documents about the program.

Seems like a pretty good deal if you find out about it in the next 11 days.

The article goes on to say that Quebec is responsible for “71 per cent of world maple syrup production in 2004″ and that of it’s producers “12 per cent have 10,000 or more [taps] and just one per cent have over 30,000 [taps]”

If I had that much invested in maple syrup production I would most likely get insurance too.

Nothing for Ontario producers as of yet and I don’t imagine there would be.

Syrup as a commodity

I ran into this story about a shortage of maple syrup due to a new cook book by a Nigella Lawson. If you have syrup to sell to the UK now might be the time. It is funny because the recipt only calls for about 80ml of syrup. They are calling this the Nigella effect.  I just goes to show that when there is a demand for Maple Syrup it can shoot up at a moments notice.

Read the whole story here: Nigella effect strikes again as sales on maple syrup soar.

I also wanted to find out more about the industry on maple syrup in Ontario and Canada. I found the Statistics Canada commodity number which is 17022020 but that is about it.

Maybe I will pay the 3 bucks and get the report some day.