Thursday, March 19, 2009

Maple Syrup Sugar Bush Adventure

We've just returned from breakfast at the Fort Rose Maple Company.  This seemed rather appropriate for Meghan's and Kate's quick visit during their Spring Break.   These pictures are from a visit Mary, Peter, Tom and I made to the Fanshaw Kinsmen's Sugar Bush about 2 weeks ago. The first one shows the older method of boiling down the sap into syrup.  To the left side is one of the two Belgian's pulling the haywagon that took us out to the sugar house.  It was plenty cold then and the sap was running free and easy!   While we've seen plenty of tree buckets with taps along our drives, the lines you see at the Kinsmen's Bush are more modern, and quick.  This series of lines is a collecting point for all the trees across the road from the sugar house.  Fanshaw Kinsmen Bush utilizes a low pressure pump to pull it to a line high enough to allow the horse drawn wagon to go freely to and from their entrance.  The biggest threat to the lines are the deer running through, ripping them away from the spigots.  

We learned that the window for gathering maple sap is short, as narrow as the ideal temperature range for optimum production.  Sap begins to run when the temperature run in the narrow window of 5C high and -5C low. Higher than that, or lower the production isn't as abundant or swift.  After tapping the sap, the long tanks boil out the water, and requiring at least 70 to 1 for the final maple syrup product.  We all agree ... maple syrup is by far preferred to the usual high fructose corn syrup product marketed as pancake syrup.  

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