Some producers use tubbing so that the extra labor of going out and gathering the sap isn't necessary. The tubes from many trees lead to one line that carries the sap to a storage tank. It can become a bit confusing trying to figure out where all the lines come from and go to if you haven't been the one to set up the line.
Everything is now all set up in the woods and the sap is running so it is time to gather. If you are using buckets then you get a crew together and go out in the woods with large buckets to dump sap into. When you have your large bucket filled then it is taken to a gathering tank carried on a trailer usually pulled by a tractor. In order to fill this gathering tank you will make many trips through the snow to the trees and then back to the tractor. When the crew returns they are ready to take a break, but this isn't possible until you have gon out and gathered all the trees that you have tapped. Depending on the size of your gathering tank this could take 5-6 trips in a row.
After you have filled the gathering tank then it is time to return to the sugar house to dump it into a holding tank. When the sap is dumped into the holding tank it is put through a filter to make sure there are no leaves and things in it.
Over the years Bates Maple Syrup has been produced using several different evaporators. At one point there were two large evaporators used to boil the sap down to syrup. One burned wood and the other one used fuel oil. We found that the wood evaporator is actually able to boil the sap down faster than the fuel oil. The syrup also seems to taste better from the one that burns wood. I'm not sure why this is but I would compare the difference with cooking a hamburger on the stove to one that has been cooked on the grill out doors.
The containers have all been filled and cooled. Now it is time to put them on display so people can buy them. It's been a long hard day and now we can finally take a moment to relax.
There are times in the sugar bush when we work for 24 hours a day. At these times the sap is running maximum and we must continue to boil or we will get more sap than we have room to store.
The only additive there is in maple syrup is lots of hard work, it is truly PURE MAPLE SYRUP.
Thank you for joining us on this picture trip through a sugar bush. If you get a chance to tour one during season this spring, please do so. You will enjoy the experience and learn even more than I have been able to show you.
SAY YES TO MICHIGAN PURE MAPLE SYRUP!
prepared and presented the the BACK FORTY 4-H club. Leader, Fred Bates. Members, Eric Egeler, David Parker, Edie Parker, Scott Bates, Shawn Bathes, Amy Root, Mike Root, assistant leaders; Donna Parker and Cathi Bates.