This morning at the Herman Hills Sugar Bush we awoke to the beautiful song of Robins, water quickly dripping from icicles on the rock bluff, and light reaching over the horizon, promising another day of sunshine. As the days here become warmer, the earth begins her own slow awakening, and for us, that means early mornings busily at work in the tall stands of maples covering our rocky woodland. Those golden rays of sun beating down on the maples are signaling the trees- "It's time to wake up, sleepy heads!" and before long, the sap that was staying cool and protected in the roots all winter long, makes its ascent through the trunk.
This is it! The moment we've been waiting for! The moment when those first drops of sweet sap slowly emerge from the small metal taps we lovingly placed at the end of winter. Soon, that slow, steady drip will begin moving through our network of lines that crisscrosses the forest and will converge with the sap from thousands of other trees to create an exhilarating rush of captivatingly aqua-colored liquid in large holding tanks at our humble little sap shacks.
The ice-cold sap soon fills these tanks and now needs to be transported by Jim and Tyler with the side-by-side to the sugar shack where it will be pumped through a reverse osmosis (R.O.) machine. This machine extracts a large amount of the water, leaving us with a more concentrated sap, shortening the boiling time and the amount of wood needed to reduce the sap down into rich, delicious maple syrup.
Did you know- we need to feed our wood-burning evaporator about five pieces of wood every seven minutes to keep the fire hot?! Jarrad and Brianna sure keep busy stacking all that wood!
During our long days and nights of boiling, someone will always be found manning the evaporator... feeding it wood, checking that the boiling liquid doesn't become too foamy, and of course, taste-testing to make sure each batch of syrup is just as wonderful as the last. Everyone takes turns with this very important task and by the end of the day, we all smell of the sweet nectar that these amazing trees share with us.
In fact, the entire farm is heavy with sweet scent of maple syrup! Soon neighbors, friends, family, and passers by will be stopping in to watch the boil and get a taste of our hot, fresh maple syrup- right from a coffee cup :)
If you haven't had the chance to indulge in our superior maple goods, be sure to check out our online store or stop in to our kitchen to buy some right from the farm and get a look at how it all happens!
Our Online Store: https://www.hermanhillssugarbush.com/shop