What do President’s Day and maple syrup have in common? It’s the traditional mark on the calendar for tappers to harvest maple syrup and begin production.
Monday was one of the best days to start harvesting maple syrup, as this week the nights are cold but the days are warm.
It’s the perfect time for harvesters like Bill and Amy Proulx to tap thousands of trees and collect the sap.
They say 98 percent of the sap is water that’s boiled down in an evaporator to refine the 2 percent of the sweet sugary syrup.
“It’s the ratio though that makes it difficult. Normally its 40 gallons or 50 gallons of sap for one gallon of syrup,” said Bill Proulx, owner of Sugar House.
This season, Proulx is discovering the sugar content to be lower because the infestation of the gypsy moth defoliated the trees.
Now they have to boil down more sap for that same gallon of syrup.
“The trees did not build up the starch during the summer that’s turned into sugar in late winter,” Proulx said.
For most of the year, maple syrup farmers are busy chopping and splitting the 40 cords of wood they’ll need to stoke the boiler needed to boil down the sap. That’s gravity fed from huge storage tanks outside the Sugar House.
“As we drain off the hot maple syrup more cold maple sap is rushing in out of the tank to replace what we take off,” Proulx said.
They’ll be tapping the trees until March, as long as the weather cooperates.
For more on Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut, click here.
For more on River's Edge Sugar House, click here.
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