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PURE MAPLE SYRUP 101

From a drop of sap to pure maple syrup

We start with wild grown hard maple trees in the Appalachian mountains.  These trees grow on steep slopes in glacial soil.  They are fed by spring rain and abundant summer sunshine.  Tapping begins in late January when temperatures in NW Pennsylvania can be in the single digits.  The sap flow starts in mid February and can last into the first week of April.  A good "sap run" requires freezing temperatures followed by warm days in the 40's and 50's.  On a good day in March we will collect anywhere from 6,000-8,000 gallons of sap in 24 hours.

 

Raw sap is clear and looks like water, the sugar content is between 1.5-2%.  To make one gallon of pure maple syrup, we will process anywhere from 45-60 gallons of raw sap.  The sap is collected by a vast network of tubing and held in stainless steel tanks in the woods before transporting to the sugarhouse where the transformation into pure maple syrup begins.  Our tubing network eliminates the need for roads or machinery in the woods, which causes root compaction and damage to the eco system.  The next step in our process is concentrating the sap with a reverse osmosis machine.  Using high pressure the water is "squeezed" out of the sap, removing 80% of the water and raising the sugar content from 1.5% to 12%.  This greatly reduces our evaporator's fuel consumption.

The concentrated sap is fed into our 3'x12' high efficiency gasification wood fired evaporator.  The evaporator also uses a steam pan which uses the steam from the boiling sap to preheat the incoming sap.  With this pan we are able to remove more water from the sap with no extra energy input.  The concentrated sap moves through channels in the rear "flue pan" before entering the front "syrup pan".  During the boiling process the density is increasing as more water is removed.  And finally when the syrup has reached 67% sugar content it is draw off the evaporator into barrels for later packaging.   

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