The Sugar Bush
Each spring when the days warm above freezing and the sap starts flowing, the family heads out to the woods for 3 to 4 weeks of syrup making. In late February, we taps the trees and hang the pails and before long, the daily gather begins. We currently tap over 500 trees and can gather over 1000 gallons of sap on a good day.
Gathering that much sap takes a lot of hands and family, friends, and neighbors all come out to help. Each evening around 4:00 the gather starts and helpers of all ages take to the woods with boots on and buckets in hand and carry pail after pail to the tender wagon pulled behind the tractor. When the 350 gallon tank is full, it is pulled up to the sugar shack to get pumped into a holding tank and then back to the woods for more.
Back, at the shack, the boil begins. To fuel the wood stove which boils the sap down to syrup, we use wood cut and split throughout the year. It takes about 1 hour to boil down 100 gallons of sap and that makes about 2 1/2 gallons of syrup. On a good year, we will gather over 10,000 gallons of sap and boil it down at a ratio of 40 gallons of sap for each gallon of pure maple syrup. The syrup is then canned or bottled and we use a large portion of it in the business as a sales and marketing tool.