Chapter 4, The Sugar house
Making Maple Syrup
I was on the phone with Floyd every couple of days in March
for the latest bulletin on the rising of the maple sap. The nights were still
below freezing, but the days were getting warm. “Quick’s we get a couple of 40
degree days, and the wind backs to the west, the sap’ll run. It all depends on
Floyd and his family have been boiling sap for maple syrup from their East Barnard sugarbush for forty years. They produce hundreds of gallons and it can be bought in stores for miles around.
On March 18 he said the weather was perfect and the sap should start to run. And run it did – from 4,000 taps through miles of plastic piping to huge holding tanks in the sugar house. There were four generations of Van Alstynes and extended family members working long hours every day for weeks, feeding wood into the evaporator fire, testing the consistency of the boiling sap pumping it through filtration and into waiting vats for shipping and bottling.
I was fortunate enough to come away with a couple of quarts in an old wine bottle that Floyd keeps on hand for visitors.