Those of you who ventured out to visit a nearby producer during Maple Weekend have seen how large sugaring operations use the latest equipment, machinery, tools and the most advanced technologies when making maple syrup.
Once the sap flows, they are able to produce quality maple syrup of exceptional flavor, dozens, and in some cases even hundreds of gallons at a time.
Studies have shown that plastic tubing will produce higher yields of sap than the traditional method of collecting the sap in buckets and hauling those buckets back and forth through the woods while substantially reducing the labor involved. In fact, a well installed food-grade plastic tubing system will provide many years of high productivity, in some cases doubling a syrup maker’s production over the use of pails.
Tubing also allows large-scale producers to collect fresh sap in the most efficient and hygienic way possible and can actually improve the health and quality of a sugarbush by reducing or eliminating the potential for site damage and, more importantly, root damage, soil compaction and erosion caused by collection vehicles, all of which can compromise tree health.
What’s more, if you’re just starting out, even though a tubing system can be quite costly to purchase, it can actually be less expensive to set up than buckets. If there is a down side, it’s that tubing often requires more maintenance than buckets and is frequently damaged by rodents, especially squirrels, that chew on it.
Nearly all modern evaporators allow for sap to be continually added as it is collected. And more and more producers now pump their collected sap through reverse osmosis machines, or R-Os, which filter out up to three quarters of the water before boiling begins. R-O technology saves fuel and time without diminishing the quality of the finished product. Steam pre-heating evaporators are often used as well to increase evaporation rates, which further reduces processing costs and saves even more energy and time.