A trip from the tree to your pancake.
Syrup begins as sap flowing up from the roots or maple trees as they send sugar stored in their roots to their branches to prepare for spring. Sap is collected when the weather is freezing at night and thawing during the day. Once the weather stays warm, the sap tastes bad and the season ends.
Releasing the Sap
Our family started gathering sap with buckets and horses over a hundred and fifty years ago. As we increase our production and have fewer children, it’s important to find more efficient ways to gather sap. Today we primarily use tubing to run from tree to tree, down to mainlines where it can flow for more than two miles downhill towards the sugar house.
Stops along the way
Sometimes it’s not a straight shot down the hill to the sugar house. If the land is pitched the wrong way, the sap has to stop at a pump house where it is collected and then pumped over a hill to continue on its way to the sugar house. We have 8 pump houses in use in the woods to help get all the sap to our sugar house.
Highway to Heat
As the sap gathers and heads down the hill to get boiled down to syrup, the drips turn into streams which turn into gushing pipelines. Here is our largest collection of mainlines, held in the air by old telephone poles and an old metal snowboard rail donated by Smuggler’s notch. We need to ensure the pitch remains downhill all the way to the tanks in the sugar house.
Using a Vacuum System
Keeping the tubing under vacuum not only helps increase sap collection, but it also helps to keep sap lines clean by keeping bacteria from traveling back up the lines and into the trees.
Swimming pools of Sap
We can gather more than 75,000 gallons of sap in a single day! We need a lot of storage, and also help removing some of the water otherwise we couldn’t boil fast enough!
A reverse osmosis machine removes water from sap using high pressure and filters. The water molecules can slip out, but the sugar cannot. 10,000 gallons of sap containing 2% sugar can be reduced to 5,000 gallons containing 4% sugar, or 2500 gallons containing 8% sugar, or 1250 gallons containing 16% sugar. The RO removes a huge amount of pure water from the sap, leaving the sugar and minerals behind, which allows us to keep up with the sap coming down the hill.
Here’s the arch we boil all our delicious maple syrup on. It has a preheater in the back where sap flows through the steam and warms up to near boiling before it even hits the pan. We can make over 400 gallons of syrup using one cord of wood because of our RO and preheater technology.
Now that we’ve made our delicious syrup, it’s stored in stainless steel containers until we are ready to use it. We have samples from every barrel ready so we know the grade and can taste the flavor. We only can the syrup that showcases superior maple flavor and color for our family and customers. The rest is sold wholesale and you may find it under a different name at major retailers but trust us when we say you will always get superior syrup when you buy straight from a farmer.