Another maple sugaring season has officially come and gone, and there are sure signs of Spring arriving in Northern Vermont. Birds are nesting, the pollen is swirling in the air, and the bugs have arrived at the baseball field! The trillium and trout lily are carpeting the woodland floors as only native plants and wildflowers can do.
Though the weather was a bit warmer than usual during March and April this year, we still had those very important fluctuations in temperature (warm days, cold nights) that make for producing quality maple syrup. On the technical front, every year we try to incorporate some of the advancements made in research and development in the maple sugaring industry. According to Efficiency Vermont, “since the 1970s technological advances have helped make the process less labor intensive and more energy efficient.”
For example, we have invested in a reverse osmosis (RO) machine to remove a large percentage of the water from the sap before it enters the evaporator pan to be boiled down to maple syrup. This front end process reduces our boiling time and energy costs/impact, as well as improves the sugar content and quality of the syrup produced. In addition, we are able to upcycle the excess water from the RO for cleaning purposes in the sugarhouse. Included in this post is a photo of our “back room” where the RO system is installed.
To create the flavor profile of quality Vermont pure maple syrup, the trip through the evaporator (pan) for the concentrated sap is critical. There is a delicate balance of timing and testing, including the use of a hydrometer to check the density of the syrup, and knowing the correct moment to “draw off” the finished maple syrup from the pan. From smaller, less invasive taps in the trees, to the use of reverse osmosis, better filtration and packaging, we’ve moved forward while at the same time been careful to preserve the traditions and simplicity of making 100% Vermont Pure Maple Syrup. All you really need to know is the heavenly smell of maple coming from the sugarhouse is a sure sign that things are happening to develop that final sweet taste for your table.