Fall frosts…bring on spectacular leaf color displays causing food energy to be converted into starch.
In Winter…trees store the starch in root tissues waiting for the warm sunlight of Spring to touch their branches. The starch is then converted into sugar, an energy boost for young leaves. This sugar mixes with moisture from the ground within the trees to form sap.
A tree is usually 40 years old and 12 inches in diameter at chest height before the sugarmaker considers it for one tap. When Spring temperatures reach 45º F during the day and nights remain below freezing (25º F is perfect), the sugarmaker drills a hole in the trunk of the tree and taps in a spout with either a hook and bucket or plastic tubing. Sugaring season begins!
Sap averages 2-3% sugar and looks like clear water. The sugar content of syrup is 66.9%. The sugarmaker will gather 40 gallons of sap for each gallon of syrup that he makes. Each tap will yield about one quart of syrup during the season. Some of our trees have been tapped by our family for over 200 years!
The sap is gathered and brought to the sugarhouse where it is quickly boiled down over a roaring wood fire in our large (5’ x 14’) stainless steel evaporator. The fresh syrup is then filtered, graded, checked for density, and packed into stainless steel barrels for storage or retail containers for you to enjoy. Sugaring ends when warm Spring temperatures coax the leaf buds to unfold, leaving the sugarmaker to pull the taps, clean equipment, and sell the sweet treats to you!