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Modern Syrup Production
Today our operation begins where it always has, at the trees. The first generation started with buckets, today we use specialized plastic tubing that runs from tree to tree and into a main line for sap gathering purposes.
Insulated, repurposed, stainless steel milk tanks hold the sap from the main lines until it is gathered using tractors and wagons. In 2021 this tubing collected sap from over 3000 taps.
After sap is gathered, back to the sugar house we go. The sap is pumped from the gathering tanks, through a filtration system, and into another stainless steel holding tank. From this tank, piping inside the sugar house moves the sap to the reverse osmosis machine (R.O.) to remove much of the water, concentrating the sap to a higher sugar content before boiling. The reverse osmosis helps to conserve time and fire wood, cutting down boiling from over 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of finished syrup, to 8 gallons of concentrated sap producing one gallon of syrup. Once the permeate water has been removed and recaptured for cleaning use, the concentrate sap enters its final holding tank before boiling.
Boiling sap occurs in several stages, first the sap enters the "Steam Away." In this phase, sap runs through flues and is heated through captured steam coming off of the sap in the second stage. Air is blown through the "Steam Away" to help encourage the steam to travel. Pretend you have a cup of coffee, a little steam always escapes from the surface, but when the coffee is stirred, much more steam begins to move.
Sap is gravity fed through the "Steam Away" making its way to our back evaporator pan. In this pan sap is vigorously boiled over a wood burning fire to remove more water, concentrate sugar content, and bring out that pure maple flavor.
As the sap makes its way forward it moves into the evaporator's front pans where it is finished to perfection. Syrup is finished when it reaches 66% sugar content.
Finished syrup is drawn out of the evaporator pans into a smaller holding tank where Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is added. DE aides our filter press in removing any impurities present in the finished product. After moving through the stainless steel filter press, the fresh hot syrup is placed in a double walled canner for filling jugs, or bulk stainless steel syrup barrels and jugs for wholesale. The canner uses captured steam water to keep the sap heated to 180 degrees for filling containers.
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