Dave takes you on a tour of the sugaring facilities at a wildlife sanctuary to show you how maple syrup is made.
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Dave Epstein: I am Dave Epstein. Welcome to Growing Wisdom and we are here with Richard Wolniewicz and we are in late February and you are a sugar guy. You are making Maple Syrup here at Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary. We want to talk a little bit about the process. We have got these big buckets behind us and we are just going to let us know how we get Maple Syrup.
Richard Wolniewicz: Essentially, what we do is we will go out on a fairly warm day. We will drill the trees about two-and-a-half to three inches deep with driver spouting with the hook and hang these buckets on it and essentially the trees will just start flowing. It will take about 15 hours or so or a day to fill a bucket, if the temperature is right. Above 40 degree days, below freezing nights, and they will flow for us for about six weeks.
Dave Epstein: But this is not all Maple syrup. When it comes out you have to boil it down. So how much of the sap to make one gallon of Maple syrup?
Richard Wolniewicz: At the beginning of the year, the sugar content is much higher in the sap than as the year progresses because the tree is using the sugars to fill their life processes too. So what happens is essentially, our trees here we will start out about 4% sugar. So we take about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup essentially and then by the end of that we could be boiling 80-120 gallons of sap to get one gallon of syrup.
Dave Epstein: And in terms of sugar maple trees, any particular variety of sugar maple?
Richard Wolniewicz: It's a Acer Saccharum which is for sugar.
Dave Epstein: Hundreds of years they have been doing it this way with buckets. Is there any other way that they do it now to get the sap out quicker?
Richard Wolniewicz: A lot with commercial, they tap in three-four thousand trees. They use tubing.
Dave Epstein: And it's a much more efficient system.
Richard Wolniewicz: We like the old fashioned way.
Dave Epstein: After the saps into the bucket, then what do you do with it.
Richard Wolniewicz: We have a tractor and the truck and we gather it up and we will bring it into a storage tank and we pump it into our sugar house, where we start to boil it and that's the whole big process, is to get the water out of the sap to get up the syrup. Where it usually takes about 12 hours from the minute it drops into what's called the evaporator to the time we pour it off into a bottle for us to taste.
Dave Epstein: So this is 100% pure Maple syrup and it's produced right here in --
Richard Wolniewicz: Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield, Massachusetts.
Dave Epstein: Pretty cool. Well, thank you very much for sugar. You guys know where I am going. I am going to go in the kitchen and do a little cooking and have a little Maple syrup. We want you to come back every week for all of our tips, hints and help here at growingwisdom.com.