We're curious! How much do you know about maple syrup production? Growing up in the Catskills, we were fortunate to have friends and neighbors whose lives revolved around making the sweet stuff this time of year. So, here's some fun facts for you!
1. Maple sap is what makes syrup and it only comes from sugar maple trees. Other trees produce sap, but none are as prolific as the sugar maple. The sap requires warm days and cooler nights in order to "run." This can start as early as February (like it did this year) and go as late as April. The syrup produced earlier in the season is a light golden color while the later syrup is dark and caramely colored (my favorite!).
2. It takes 40-50 gallons of sap to produce ONE gallon of syrup. That's a lot of evaporation that has to take place! Home based and smaller operations often use a wood fire to boil down the sap while larger operations use wood fired evaporators whose fires have to be stoked every few minutes. Larger operations can go through 10 or more cords of wood is a season!
3. Maple syrup production has gone high tech! We used to see buckets hanging from trees to collect the sap. Now, we are more likely to see plastic lines running though the woods and ending at a large collection tank. Several operations also use reverse osmosis machines to stop the back flow of sap from their lines.
4. New York State is the second largest producer of maple syrup in the United States. Vermont is ranked number one. If you want to explore the maple producers in NYS you have the opportunity on April 2-3 when many will host open houses and pancake breakfasts. Use www.mapleweekend.com to plan your visits!
5. We at Home Goods carry syrup from two producers - Sugar Mountain Maple and Tree Juice. Both are produced locally - and both are owned by Fairbairns who are distantly related!