How we do it
The syrup making process
Maple sap is collected from maple trees in the spring any time from February to April when the temperature is above freezing and below 32 degrees at night. Ideal temperatures are low 20's at night and low 40's during the day. This temperature difference is what causes the sap to flow from the roots to the branches and then back to the roots when it gets colder.
The way we collect our sap is through a network of plastic tubing that will run from tree to tree each line of the tubing will then connect to a larger pipe called a main line and main lines may then connect to an even larger pipe that ends at one collection tank. In the spring a small hole is drilled in the tree then a tap or spout is inserted in the hole and connects to the tubing line.
We also use a vacuum pump system connected to the tubing network, this will assist the sap to flow out of the tree even on days when the temperature is not ideal. This also allows us to drill a smaller hole in the tree then what was used before allowing the tree to heal faster and remain healthy for many decades.
Once the collection tank is full we pickup the sap with trucks or tractor and trailer and haul it back to the sugarhouse Once there we filter the sap and process it through Reverse Osmosis. This will remove around 75 percent of the water leaving a sugary concentrate which we will then boil down in a wood fired evaporator until the liquid reaches the right consistency determined by using a hydrometer. Maple sap from the tree is about 2% sugar after Reverse Osmosis its about 12%-15% sugar and the final process of boiling down brings it to 66%.
After the syrup is drawn off the evaporator its hot filtered and put in 40 gals stainless drums for storage. Then as needed we reheat and re filter the syrup and its put into various size containers for sale to the public.
Once the season is over and everything is cleaned up there is a whole wood supply to put up for next year, in the fall all lines in the woods are checked for damage and repaired also any new lines will be installed or old ones replaced. Before we know it its time to tap the trees again for a new crop!