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Friday, March 23, 2012

Maine Maple Sunday

This Sunday is Maine Maple Sunday! In 2011, Maine produced 360,000 gallons of maple syrup. In order to get 1 gallon of syrup, you need an average of anywhere between 34-42 gallons of sap depending on the concentration of sugar.
For Hubby's birthday, we headed to a friend's house where he has about 5 taps going during the season. This is his set up - metal taps, plastic hoses into 5 gallon buckets.
We then headed to Brian's nephew's sugar house. This place was built in 1954 and there is a small camp right next to the sugar house where they use to sleep while collecting the sap all spring.
Brian's nephew has 700 taps. I tried to get a good picture of the web of tubes but with the sun, none of them came out great. Hopefully you can see the spider-web like set up he has. The sugar house is downhill from all of the trees so gravity helps to keep the sap running. If they need to, they also hook up a generator that creates a suction through the entire system to help get the sap out.
We have had temps in the 80's for the past week or so. Very abnormal Maine weather and because it has been staying so warm, the season has (or will be) incredibly short. Brian has already pulled his 5 taps and instead of normally making about 6 gallons of syrup, he made 2 1/2. In a normal spring, the days are in the 40's and the nights are in the 20's. Cold enough for the sap to move into the branches and then warm enough to move into the trunk and out into the taps. You can see the sap running into the bucket, like water from a tap.
The sap runs into the building, down the pipes and into a table like set up. From there, it flows into this snake set up. Sugar houses are about 110 degrees because you have to keep the fire going constantly (under the table) so that the sap can stay at a boil and the moisture can evaporate, leaving just the maple syrup.
You can see the color change (from right to left) as the sap is boiled down to sugar.
The sugar gets filtered and ready to be bottled and sold at the many festivities that are held throughout the State on Sunday.
Boom! Maine Maple Syrup!

If you are in Maine, get out and support local Sugar Houses! Especially, since they have faced a hard spring. Here is a link to all of the sugar houses that are open to the public this weekend. Go Local!

9 comments:

  1. I ran six taps this year and produced two pints of maple syrup, looks like I'm small ball compared to this operation. Nice post.

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  2. We have a couple in town that make maple syrup and that would make a very neat day trip.

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  3. Very cool and great explanation on the process. I will savor it more knowing the level of work required to fill that bottle....Phil

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  4. jeeze! who knew so much went into that?!?! cool.

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  5. Feel free to send some down south!

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    1. Emailed me your address and I will send some down for you!

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  6. Wow that is a true labor of love! I only buy the good stuff.. pure maple syrup for me.

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  7. Great description of the sugaring process. It is as good as gold and I savor every drop.

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  8. Thanks Terry! Nothing beats sneaking a couple of drops on your finger when its coming from the tree

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