If you are ever looking for a fun family experience to learn and get some fresh air in mid March, try finding a maple farm. Why? To see where syrup comes from! It’s a great trip for the kids, but my husband and I love going. It’s a really interesting peak at farming – something we don’t do ourselves, and it’s something that I think is important for the kids and us to keep in mind: knowing where your food comes from.
So last week we went to a “little” farm that taps its maple trees in order to make it into syrup by boiling it down in their “sugar shack.” It is a fascinating process, and depending on the farm, you may get to try samples of the syrup in its various forms: sap, tea, syrup, maple-sugar,cookies, cake.
Unfortunately, at the location that we went to, the sap wasn’t running as it has been such a cold winter. You need extreme cold, but also a warm thaw that allows for the pressure release in the trees. That means, there was no syrup process (of boiling the sap and making it into syrup) going on. The man was kind enough to give us a brief tour of the trees that were nearby, and he explained and showed us what they do to tap close to 2000 trees every year.
His shack was a one room, wooden house with a huge boiling tank in the center that vented through the roof, and there were all kinds of historical tapping paraphernalia: wood taps, metal, plastic, on display. He had a nice rocking chair and a wood stove in the corner, I guess for waiting as the syrup boiled down, but it was quite a cozy little space. After listening to him tell us how WE could make our own syrup by boiling any sap gathered on a firepit, or even a grill, well…my husband bought a tap, and we decided to take it on ourselves!
We tapped the one small (very small!) maple tree that we have last week. I honestly didn’t expect too much, with the size of the tree, and how much sap you actually need to make a tiny bit of syrup being quite a bit, but with the warming weather, we have two buckets full of sap to boil! All day on the grill yesterday, and today we’ll finish it off, I hope; Stay tuned!