Monday, April 21, 2014

What happens to all that water?


Maple sap is comprised of sugar and water.  Each day we test the sugar content of the sap with a hydrometer because the amount of sugar in the sap varies from day to day.  Sap consists of mostly water (ex: 98%), and a small amount of sugar (ex: 2%).

In our sugaring operation, we use a reverse osmosis machine (R.O.) to remove approximately 90% of the water out of the sap.  So, for every 1,000 gallons of sap we collect, we end up with about 100 gallons of concentrated sap.

The use of a R.O. allows us to boil for less time, thus saving energy.   If we didn't use a R.O., we would be boiling all night long, every single day!
  
Reverse osmosis machine

 
So, you may wonder: what happens to all that water that comes out of the sap?  Usually, if you didn't employ a R.O., all the water would evaporate into the air.  But, since the R.O. directly removes the water out of the sap, we have a large tank that the water flows into after exiting the reverse osmosis machine.  From there, we not only reuse the water to clean the R.O., but to clean our syrup pans as well.

When it gets to a certain point in the season, we must clean our pans from the evaporator every day.  The sugar sand accumulates and a thick coating of it is left on the bottom.  If we didn't clean them thoroughly, they would burn during the boiling process and the syrup would not taste good.  We reuse the crystal clear water from the R.O. to clean these pans, saving a lot of water!
 
A sugar sand coated syrup pan
  
Water from R.O. makes it's way through each section


Almost done!
 
Clean syrup pan

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sugaring Season Begins

Derek, Kern, and Sue tapping
Sue puts the spout on a drop line
Kern drills the hole
Derek taps in the spout


We are always on the lookout for damage.  Here, Derek fixes a bite in the tubing.



Big ol' maple

Sue, in her cold weather gear

This past Sunday, we plodded through the snow and began tapping the beautiful, bare maple trees.  The amount of snow on the ground during tapping is always something we keep in mind.  In previous years, we’ve had to drudge through deep snow, several feet high, making hard work of an important task.  Climbing through snow up to your hips gets tiring!  

After Sunday, though, the temperature increased and we had some rain, melting a lot of the snow and making it easier to get around the woods.  Since then, the temperatures have been frigid and ice-cold (which might be an understatement!), but tapping has continued during the warmest parts of the day. 

As of now, it looks like there will be a warm-up tomorrow, so hopefully the sweet sap will start to flow!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

We're gearing up for the holidays!

Maple products not only make great gifts, but are also an excellent addition to your pantry!  Visit us for delicious and nutritious sweet treats!

Crunchy maple coated peanuts - the perfect portable snack

Granulated maple sugar is a completely natural alternative to common white sugar...use it not only anywhere you would use white sugar, but for a subtle maple flavor too!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

For those of you who asked about the recipe for blueberry jam (and everyone else who may be interested), here it is!

Blueberry Jam with Maple Sugar

10 cups blueberries
4 cups pure maple sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice

Put blueberries in a large pot and mash them with a potato masher.  Add sugar and lemon juice, mix together. 

Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Takes about 50-60 minutes.  Pour into sterilized jars, capping them immediately after pouring.  Lay the jar on its side. 

NOTES:
* I did not need to use any canning equipment.  If the jam is hot enough and the jar is laid on its side, it should seal.  If jar does not seal, just store in the refrigerator.
* Use as much or as little lemon juice as you want- it's your preference.
* The same goes for the maple sugar...if you want your jam sweeter, use more.
* I used fresh, local blueberries, but you can use frozen.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blueberry Jam with Maple Sugar

 
 

We took advantage of blueberry season this year, canning several jars of blueberry jam.  Instead of making it with white sugar, we used our own pure maple sugar.  The jam turned out to be quite delicious!


Saturday, June 8, 2013


Derek decided to put up some buckets this year, and Lady accompanied me out to check them one warm, sunny day later in the season.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Growth

Every sugaring season consists of tapping the trees and after the season is done, pulling those taps. While out pulling taps this year, I gathered some photos of young maple seedlings covering the forest floor.




I was also able to snatch a few photos of a yellow Trout Lily sprouted amongst a sea of wild leeks.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Working in the woods


Working in the woods is an important part of our job.  Lately, we have been spending a lot of time checking our tubing for damage, like animal bites & chews and downed trees on lines.  We examine every inch of tubing, every dropline, and the entire length of every mainline.  We make sure everything in each sugarbush is tip-top so it will be ready for sugaring season.  This way there will be optimal sap flow in the spring.
 
A section of a sugarbush
Many animals, like squirrels, chipmunks & deer, chew on the tubing.  Along with the obvious lines chewed in half, there are also many smaller chews and punctures that need replacement in droplines and the actual line itself.  It is crucial that we inspect all of our tubing and fix any damage, from animals or just what incurs through time & weather.  We have also found many trees, both big and small, that have fallen on our tubing lines. 


Kern cutting up a fallen tree on the tubing
 Some excitement that always abounds when working in one particular sugarbush comes from the "dog-next-door," Izzy!  Izzy, a hound/lab mix, always runs over, her ears flapping in the breeze, and greets us.  We can't leave the vehicle door open too long, unless we want big, muddy dog prints all over the seat!  She is always bursting with energy, chomping at the bit to go on an excursion in the forest.

Izzy, Kern, & Sue
Romping in the sugarbush


Izzy
Sue


 
Derek - after a days work



 

 
 
 

 
 



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Foliage

Almost all the leaves have fallen here and the Tamarack trees are losing their golden orange needles.  In the midst of the storm, with all the needles blowing around, you might have thought it was snowing.  With the color of autumn fading, giving way to bare trees, it will be only a matter of time until sugaring season is upon us once again.

Autumn maple leaves

Monday, October 29, 2012

Market Switch

Kern at the Tribeca market

To all our Tribeca friends, after this weekend we will be moving to the Greenpoint / McCarren Park Greenmarket.  Starting Sat. November 3 we will be at this new market, which runs from 8am to 3pm, located at Union Ave. between Driggs & N 12th Street, Brooklyn.  It was a pleasure to bring you our pure maple products and get to know some of you.  Hopefully you can still come to see us at the Columbia Greenmarket on Sundays or the Greenpoint / McCarren Park Greenmarket on Saturdays!

Tribeca
Tribeca


Monday, October 1, 2012

A new market - Columbia Greenmarket

In addition to Tribeca, you can now find all our products at another Greenmarket. Starting this Sunday, 10/7, we will be at the Columbia Greenmarket, located near Columbia University on Broadway at 115th St.  If you're in the area, come see us!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Walling Wedding

Drew and Reebe said their "I do's" this past Saturday at the Barn at Hogs Hollow, in Burlington Flats, NY.  After the outside ceremony, the reception was held in a former pig barn converted to a beautifully-decorated, airy space.  Each guest sat down to a wedding favor of molded maple sugar.  We also scattered some bags in the middle of every table.  The extra pieces went into a basket, free for the taking!  Each bag had 3 small, fancy pieces (including wedding bells and hearts), or 1 large maple leaf.

Molded maple sugar wedding favors... mmm

The wedding favors before being bagged

As part of the ceremony, the bride and groom chose to show their unity by blending our light and dark maple syrups together.



Drew & Reebe pouring syrups

A fitting addition to the place settings
The finished product