866-291-8100 • 107 C Crasper Road • Cobleskill, New York 12043-5913
the sweetest harvest

Certified NAturally Grown


Sap being pumped into sap tank in Sap House.
It is being filtered and at this point has only 2% sugar.

Mature Maple Trees, drill, spiles, tubing or buckets, hammer, warm clothes and warm days in the 40's and cool nights in the 20's and patience and fortitude!

Usually in February, Syrup Producers across the northeast prepare their equipment, setting up their tubing lines in preparation of Sap Season.

When the weather gets a little warmer in the beginning of March, they go out and drill holes in the trees, tap in the spiles with a hammer and attach the tubing (or buckets). From this point on it's a waiting game for the weather to co-operate with the Sap Producer. Sometimes a lot of prayer (and some cursing) go into Sap Season.

The evaporator that boils off the water from the sap has a fire that is 3000 degrees and burns 1/2 a ton of slab wood an hour. This is the fire box of our evaporator that is 6'x20'.

Once the weather changes to warm days in the 40s and cool nights in the 20s, the sap starts to flow. The trees are tricked by the weather into thinking that it's spring by day and winter at night. During the day, they send their sap to the top of the tree, on it's way up we "tap" some of it, not harming the tree in the process. At night, the tree sends its sap back down to the roots thinking it's winter again. The next day we begin the cycle again. This continues until it warms up during the night as well as the day, then the sap stays up in the tree and the season is over. Sap season may last up to six weeks in a good year.

To make sure the syrup is syrup and determine the grade (or color) we use a hydrometer and grading kit.

Every day during Sap Season we bring the sap to the Sap House and "boil it down". The sap gets boiled until it's over 219 degrees ; its density changes and the sugar in the sap concentrates while the water evaporates. It's tricky business because sap can burn easily and be ruined.

Nowadays we use finishing pans to complete the process, readying the syrup for bottling. We test for grade by color and density and bottle accordingly. Usually the first syrup produced in the season is the lightest, which we call Light Amber. Then, as the season progresses, the darker syrups are produced. This is due to the bacterial content in the sap, which is due to warmer days. Luckily, maple trees produce a harmless bacteria that is burned off during boiling.

This (left) is the hot syrup coming off the finishing pan and being filtered for the last time. We are filtering out the sugar sand or minerals that are present in the syrup. This sugar sand if left in the
syrup wouldn't affect the flavor but would make it cloudy and give it a granular texture.

The syrup is then bottled in the custom jugs used at Maple Hill Farm. The syrup is at 180 to 200 degrees when it is bottled. It's about midnight, a typical time to be bottling the syrup!

The Maple Syrup on your pancakes today is Pure, produced only by boiling out the water and is actually beneficial to your health as a sugar substitute.

This spring, come and visit your local Sap House or come to Maple Hill Farm and join in this time-honored tradition or ours.

Copyright © 2011 Maple Hill Farm Enterprises, LLC.