March 15, 2008 – Maple Sugaring

Today we had a bit of a treat with an introduction to maple sugaring at Morning Sun Farm.  It looks like I’m following the sugar – a few weeks ago we walked through a sugar cane plant, now through maple syruping in Iowa.

Here the “Sapmaster” and one of his daughters check on the sap flow.  The sap flows best on days that are above freezing and nights that are below freezing.

Trees are tapped in a path throughout the woods.  The buckets (in this case milk jugs) collect the sap until the collectors come around.

Here’s a picture of a tap in a tree – if you look closely, you can see a drop near the edge.

Here Martin pounds a tap into a tree.

Here Martin pours sap from a tree that has been previously tapped into the bucket for transport.

This bucket is about 3/4 full of fresh sap.  I was amazed how crystal clear the sap is.

This is an old bulk tank salvaged from a defunct dairy used as a holding tank after the sap is collected, but before it is boiled.

Here is the sap boiling in the evaporation trays.

The sapmaster with his homemade boiler – consisting of an old fuel oil tank and other parts cobbled together.  He’s leaning on the cover that goes on the top.  You may also notice the scaffolding that he uses to support wind block in the case of strong, cold winds.  It is entirely wood-fired and about 8 gallons an hour evaporate.

Since the season is just beginning, I don’t have any photos of the next part of the process, nor the end product, but we have been able to put our stamp of approval on the final product in years past.

one year ago…”Red House Records Night at SXSW”