The sap-collection and handling methods a maple producer chooses will greatly influence both the quality and quantity of syrup and, as a result, the amount of profit. With that in mind, several Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Associations across Northern New York are offering workshops to provide cost-effective guidelines for spout and dropline replacement procedures.
In Franklin County, the workshop will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 3 at Titus Mountain Ski Center, 215 Johnson Rd., Malone. The cost is $20, free for Franklin County Maple Association and New York State Maple Producers Association members. This includes a pizza supper. Registration is required by Oct. 1. Phone 483-7403 or email email@example.com. The workshop will include a tour of Titus Mountain’s new state-of-the-art Moon Valley maple-sugaring operation, whose 6,400-tap setup is anticipated to expand to more than 13,000 for the 2014 season.
Take a look at any supplier’s catalog and you’ll notice how much the maple industry has been advancing in recent years. Both large- and small-farm sugaring operations now use the most advanced technologies to produce syrup of exceptional flavor.
Sap collection is the first and, arguably, the most important step in maple production. Traditionally, trees were drilled and metal spouts, or spiles, were inserted. Metal sap buckets with angled metal lids were then hung from hooks on the spiles. Gravity-flow tubing and airtight vacuum systems have, for the most part, eliminated the use of sap pails today.
Many producers also employ reverse osmosis, a filtration technique in which maple sap is filtered through a semi-permeable membrane under high pressure to remove as much as 75 percent of the excess water. Other multi-stage filtration and pre-heating processes may also be used to concentrate the sugar percentage in sap to be boiled, and to remove sediment and impurities. These technologies substantially reduce the amount of time and energy used to make syrup.