THE LIFE CYCLE OF MAPLE SYRUP
Prior to the sap flow in early Spring, we tap each of the trees. Tapping is done by drilling a hole into the tree and inserting a spile (the outlet the sap uses to exit the tree and enter the tubing). Dutch Hill Maple tapped about 7,500 trees in the 2020 season. Once the season has ended, each spile is then pulled from the tree and the taphole heals over.
Once the sap starts to flow, we turn on our vacuum pump, which helps to pull the sap out of the tree. This allows us to gather even more sap throughout the season.
The sap flows through the tubing and eventually collects in the releaser. The releaser is the device in which the sap transfers from the vacuum lines to the sap tank while allowing for no vacuum loss to the rest of the tubing.
From the releaser, the sap is deposited into a sap tank where it waits to be processed. We pull in thousands of gallons of sap each day!
About a third of our taps go directly to the sugar house. The rest of our taps collect in sap tanks and the sap is then hauled from our different woods locations to the sugar house.
Reverse Osmosis (RO)
Approximately 98% of sap is water. To lessen the boiling time, we run our sap through a reverse osmosis machine. The RO removes a large portion of the water (permeate) and concentrates the sap into a more sugar condense version (concentrate) which then goes into the evaporator to be boiled down into maple syrup. We actually have three RO units!
The sap goes into the evaporator and is boiled down until it turns into maple syrup.
When we have finished maple syrup, it goes through the filter press, which filters out any remaining impurities.
Once filtered, the syrup either goes into the canner to be bottled into retail containers or into large drums for storage.
The last stop before it leaves our hands is a Farmer's Market or similar event where we meet wonderful customers like you!
Dutch Hill Maple has an extensive web of tubing in all of our woods. The tubing connects the trees to our sap collection tanks.
Sugar Maple Tree
It all starts with the trees. Each year in early Spring (usually March) sap starts flowing through the sugar maple trees when the weather is just right - warm days and cold nights. This sap is what is boiled down into delicious maple syrup. It takes at least 40 gallons of sap (and sometimes much more) to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.