How sweet it is to be MAPLE SYRUP!

My parents were in town a couple of weekends ago with our 2008 supply of fresh Maple Syrup from the trees on our property in Western New York. Here’s a slide show of the process of making real maple syrup from the sap dripping from the trees to the bottling process.

The old-fashioned method – sap dripping from the “tap” in the tree into a pail. Now, most of our maple trees are connected via plastic “lines” or tubing that runs from the highest point down the hill creating a web of lines from tree to tree to cut out the need to unhook and empty every bucket by hand.

A better view of the old-fashioned method. (We still hang buckets like this around our house and the sugar shanty.) Sap does not flow from maple trees every day throughout the tapping season. It flows on days when a rapid warming trend in early to midmorning follows a night when the temperature has gone below freezing. Thus, the amount of sap produced varies from day to day. Normally, the average maple tree produces 10-12 gallons of sap each Spring. (That means it takes all Spring and four maple tress to make just one gallon of syrup!)

My dad getting ready to empty the load of sap from his truck into the gathering tank, which holds the syrup until it’s ready to be filtered.

View of the outside of the shanty.

The holding tank for sap that is waiting to be boiled off into syrup.

Fueling the fire to keep the sap evaporating. Over 20 cords of wood are burnt to keep the fire fueled in one sugar season.

It gets hot in the sugar shanty even in the end of winter! Above are the baffles in the evaporator. This is where the magic happens! The sap goes through a reverse osmosis machine before entering the evaporator, which pulls out a good amount of water cutting down on the number of hours it takes the sap to become syrup in the evaporator. This saves on wood and expedites the process. It takes 40-45 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of syrup!

Boiling away!

That boiling hot liquid is the freshest maple syrup! After leaving the evaporator, the syrup is transferred to the finishing pan.

The “finishing” machine. Here the syrup is filtered one last time to make sure there are no crystals before bottling. From here the maple syrup is transferred into various sized containers and then is labeled for sale!

If you are interested in purchasing maple syrup made in Western New York, email Joseph Meyer at


Filed under Food, Gardening, How To, Outside DC

5 responses to “How sweet it is to be MAPLE SYRUP!

  1. I grew up in western MA, and maple sugar season was always the start of spring. One year we even tried tapping the maple tree in front of our house. We got a lot of sap, but it took forever to boil down and we were only left with a little bit of syrup.

    Great blog! good to see another fellow DCer up on Tastespotting.

  2. Wow Wow Wow!!

    I love maple syrup, so nice to see how it gets from tree to bottle 🙂

  3. Great post! That could easily be pics of my own Dad up in Vermont during sugaring season – he’s retired and helps his neighbors at their sugar shack and with various steps of that process. The best part is unlimited access to the final product… I pour it on everything!

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