Last year, we tapped 15 red maple trees using buckets and a variety of spile sizes--it was our first time trying it and we wanted to see if it was worth it to expand production for the next year and if so, what kind of equipment we liked. Our friend Matt did all the research for this project and helped with every aspect of the setup so, as usual, we are indebted to him! Anyway, last year we made basically every mistake it was possible to make (or so it seemed at the time. I'm sure we'll find more this year). Our first batch of finished syrup tasted just like the Dunkin' Donuts frosting buckets we had used to collect the sap, we let a batch of sap spoil in the buckets on a hot day, and SOMEONE dropped a whole pan of almost-finished syrup. So it's hard to say how much syrup we would have gotten from those trees. I don't know much about maple syrup production but rumor has it that most people use sugar maples. We don't have any of those, so we tapped a bunch of red maple trees growing close to our house. The end result was a hearty dark syrup with some strong caramel tones. Definitely worth the effort!
This year, we are expanding our production to include around sixty of the red maple trees in our grove. We're using lines to deposit sap into a big barrel, to reduce time emptying buckets by hand. The sap will be boiled over a wood fire. We spent this past week setting up the lines, and we're waiting for a dry day to drill all those holes. Thanks to Matt, Gerardo, and my parents for helping out!
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!