When the cold, blistery days of winter begin to shift towards the warming trends of spring, we begin placing taps on the maple trees in the sugarbush. Most of our maple trees are a combination of black and sugar maple. This is the first step towards the production of maple syrup.
These taps are connected to an interconnected network of tubing that protects the sap from debris, helps keep it cool in transport, and protects the woods from having to run heavy equipment for collection. Additionally, we utilize tapping guidelines that are heavily-geared towards the long-term protection and sustainability of the trees.
At the end of the tubing is the sugarhouse. This is where the evaporation of water from the maple sap takes place, which is the process for how the sap is turned into maple syrup. The water is evaporated from the sap and carmelization of the remaining sugar brings out the delicious maple flavor. On average, it takes a little over 40 gallons of maple sap to make a gallon of maple syrup.
The evaporator is 2.5 feet wide and 10 feet long. When running at full capacity, the boiler will evaporate 90 gallons of water per hour. The evaporator is a combination of traditional roots and modern improvements. The traditional roots of our maple syrup production uses wood, a renewable energy that we can process on our own. And the modern improvements come in the form of a tighter air delivery system that increases combustion efficiency. The results are an evaporator that uses less wood, produces less pollution, and makes more maple syrup.
As the syrup comes off the evaporator, it is checked to ensure it is at the proper density of 67° Brix (amount of sugar in the syrup). From there, the syrup is filtered and assigned a grade based on the transmittance of light. A typical maple syrup season will yield lighter grades during the first runs and gradually darken. Pictured above is an old USDA “maple sirup” grading kit, now-a-days we utilize a digital grading instrument to ensure the highest grading consistency.
The final step is to heat the maple syrup up to 185°F and package it into containers, both plastic and glass. Glass has the advantage of displaying the brilliant colors of the maple syrup, and plastic has the most durability and convenience out of our containers. Be sure to check out our online shop for our full range of maple syrup products.