Making Maple Syrup
We love the taste of real maple syrup here on the farm and so decided to make our own. We quickly realized that if we were going to put in the effort to make some for ourselves, we might as well make enough for others to enjoy. That is how we got into the syrup business. It doesn't hurt that making syrup is fun and a great way to get out in the woods as the seasons transition from winter to spring.
We started out producing our syrup with our good friend Andy Yoder, a local Amish farmer. Kevin and Andy get together on quite a few projects throughout the year and so getting together to make syrup was pretty easy. (It is interesting to note that Amish and non-Amish wives roll their eyes in the very same fashion at things their husbands say and do.) Andy's Dad Robert took over boiling the syrup for a couple of years and then decided to concentrate on his wood working business. We purchased his equipment in 2014 and will be sole operators in the spring of 2015. Fortunately, Andy and Robert are still our good friends and we see them often.
The process of making syrup is pretty simple. The sap from maple trees is collected and boiled down into syrup. Maple syrup is a truly wonderful delicious all natural product with no preservatives or additives. Besides using it on pancakes, waffles, and French toast, it can be used in baking, cooking, on top of ice cream, and as a sweetener in coffee and tea.
The first step in the process is to tap maple trees so that the sap from the trees can be gathered. We use the tried and true method of drilling a small hole into the tree and then inserting the "tap" which is a small hollow metal tube through which the sap from the tree will flow into a bucket which is hung on the tree. In large operations, plastic tubes can be attached to the taps and run to a large holding container or even pumped great distances to holding containers. Trees are tapped towards the end of winter when daytime temperatures begin to stay above freezing while night time temps stay below freezing. These conditions cause the sap to start to "flow".
Next is the collection of the sap which is done on a daily basis. We go to each tree and dump the contents of the buckets into a container or drum so that it can be hauled to the "sugar house" where it will be boiled down into syrup. It takes anywhere from 35 to 50 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup depending on the sugar content of the sap. The higher the sugar content the less sap needed to make a gallon of syrup, the lower the sugar content the more sap that is needed.
Once the sap is collected and hauled to the "Sugar House" the process of boiling it down can begin. The sap is poured into a pan usually over a wood fire contained in an "arch". The combination of arch and pan is called an evaporator and often includes a hood which captures the rising steam to preheat the sap before it goes into the pan for boiling. How fast the sap is converted into syrup is based on the amount of sap being boiled and the surface area of the pan. The greater the surface area of the pan the faster the excess water is evaporated and syrup is created. Once all the excess water is boiled off what is left is pure maple syrup.
Syrup, like many other products, is graded. I won't bore you with an explanation of grading other than to tell you we try to produce a nice table grade of syrup. It is not too light and not too dark. It is what Goldilocks called "just right" for putting to any use you can think of.
If you would like to purchase some of our syrup, you can contact Kevin at 231.580.1463 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will ship syrup anywhere in the world and can make arrangements for local pickup and delivery in our area. We will ship either glass or plastic and while we do our best we can't guarantee glass won't get broken in transit. Contact us for details.
Our price list is below.
|Glass Bottle||Plastic Container|
|4 oz||$3.50 + shipping||yes|
|8 oz||$5 + shipping||yes|
|Pint||$8.50 + shipping||yes|
|Quart||$15 + shipping||yes|
|Half Gallon||not available||$25 + shipping|
|Gallon||not available||$44 + shipping|