Labor of Love
We work tirelessly every year in all seasons on different projects that allow us the joy in the spring of making the pure Maine Maple Syrup that everyone loves. In the spring and summer every year we work in the woods cutting trees thinning our wood lots.
We then cut, split, and stack the firewood from our sugar woods to burn in the evaporator. Using trees that are not maple and or thinning our sugar woods promotes healthy woods and promotes growth of our best maple trees. We then work in the fall hiking into the woods walking lines, to replace old tubing, removing down trees on the tubing, checking lines for damage from squirrels, and getting lines ready for the spring when we tap the trees.
During the Winter
Winter time is usually a continuation of fall work on tubing lines, setting vacuum pumps and releasers.
Starting mid to late January we begin to tap trees. We drill a 5/16 hole 1 1/2 inches into maple trees then place a new spout that is connected to the tubing lines.
Trees with a minimum diameter of 8 inches are tapped once, trees 24 inches in diameter are tapped twice, and trees over 36 inches in diameter are tapped three times.
Tubing Collection Systems
We collect sap on four separate tubing systems under vacuum. Sap starts flowing at the tap hole into the tap. Taps are replaced each spring to eliminate contaminates that are naturally on last years tap. Taps are connected to the tubing systems via the drop line bringing the sap to the lateral line. Lateral lines run to 3-5 different trees from the main lines.
A Network of Tubes
Main lines run long distances from the collection tanks to large geographic areas, with many lateral lines connecting to them. Stainless steel sap collection tanks range from 250-1500 gallons collect the sap from the days sap run. Vacuum lowers the atmospheric pressure in the tubing and trees allowing the trees to produce more sap increasing sap production with no harm to the trees.
In the Spring
Raw sap generally has a sugar content from 1-2% that is then pumped from three different collection tanks and hauled to the sugar house.
The raw sap is is then run through a reverse osmosis system to remove a majority of the water in the sap, concentrating the sugar content.
The Sugar House
Our sugar house has undergone many different additions and modifications as we have grown and increased our maple syrup production. The sugar house has a complicated system of stainless steel tanks, plumbing and valves that allow us to move sap around as we are processing. Sap is then run through our reverse osmosis machine that removes the majority of the water prior to the boiling process.
The Boiling Process
The 5-10% concentrated sap is then boiled in the evaporator producing maple syrup. The boiling process it what produces the caramel color that is associated with maple syrup. The color and flavor differences in syrup are due to sap quality and time of the year as the trees produce different sap. Our 2X6 Leader Evaporator with a custom build arch, is capable of boiling off over 75 gallons of water an hour, producing as much as 10 gallons of syrup per hour.
The Final Stage
The syrup is then run under pressure through a filter press that removes the impurities creating a clear finished syrup.
The finished syrup is then bottled in glass or plastic containers hot to give a long shelf life and the best Pure Maine Maple syrup money can buy.