We found out about being able to go to a Maple Syrup Farm and decided that would be a great, informational trip to take during their "open" season.
So on March 29th, we took off with Makenna (and a friend of hers) to the Maple Farm. It was wet and muddy and I quickly found out that I had boots that had holes in them as my feet squished deep into the mud and felt that oozing go all the way to my sock. Oh well - couldn't do anything about it then so I just kept going.
The guy who owns the farm actually lives outside of Syracuse and comes down to take care of the trees and the whole maple syrup process. He was very informative about the process of taking care of the trees, to running the lines and checking the lines. I'm sure Chris and I were more interested in the whole thing than the girls were but it was very interesting to hear about how much work actually goes into getting good maple syrup. Now I know why it's so expensive! Not that I want to pay the high price but I can appreciate why it is so high priced.
So here's the "old-fashioned" way that we picture when we talk about "tapping trees" for maple syrup - and they still do this to some extent but it's time consuming and not as efficient
Here's the new way - tons of tubes and lines with valves every so few feet that have to be at a certain drip rate. Not only that but you have to check every tube, every valve, and every tree. You have to make sure that the valve stuck in the tree is done right and still getting sap, and then you have to make sure the drip rate is constant but not fast. Just imagine, this guy had acres of this all around - I have no idea how he kept it all straight. Then he's planning on adding more. Oh, you also have to cut down some trees so that other trees that seem stronger can get enough sunlight in order for it to produce enough sap.
Then it all flows down into this little shack (if you look to the left of the picture, you'll see a blue tube going into the shack - all tubes from the trees connect into this tube).
Which then dump into this vat and who knew (maybe you all knew but I didn't) - sap is clear and we actually could take a taste - it's just like sugar water.
It then gets heated to a certain temperature and turns into maple syrup. I can't remember how many gallons of sap it takes to make one bottle of syrup but it's a heck of a lot! So if there's not enough sun during the winter the sap production is low and then syrup production is low and cost is HIGH!
The girls liked the shop better - more things to physically see, buy, and eat! They even had tasting samples of things made with maple - YUM!~