First Maple Syrup

by Tig Tillinghast

We made our first maple syrup of the year today, a beautiful and very light Dark Amber. After we filter it, it might actually be a medium amber. Because we’re being extra careful with the new evaporator, we didn’t pre-concentrate the sap very high (from two percent sugar to four percent sugar), so it took longer than normal to boil into maple syrup, thus a darker color than we’d otherwise have expected at the beginning of the season. The taste is very early season, more like a light fancy.Lots of visitors during the day, running around and touching things. I think we need to do a safety check and make sure we minimize the risk of injury for those with a propensity to poke around.

[Visitors can’t help themselves]

We didn’t make much maple syrup. The wind knocked down the sap flow in the second half of the day. We took in about 600 gallons of new sap, putting most of that sugar into the pans, and not drawing off much – perhaps three gallons of maple syrup. Once this arch starts rollicking along, it’ll be throwing about 10 gallons of maple syrup per hour of maple syrup.

To get that to happen, we need our reverse osmosis machine working, and that’s been a bit of a chore. Ours, you see, is about as old as I am, and a lot crankier. Today it exhibited three distinct personalities, behaving very differently with the same control settings. I think we’re past a plumber, and we need either a psychologist or an exorcist. But it wouldn’t be maple syruping if we weren’t breaking something expensive.