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Field Trips

In a land flowing with…Maple syrup

April 14, 2015

The Hubs has a friend, Mr. Dan, who is a maple syrup producer here in Ontari-ari-o, he works full time with Dwight, but come February he can only be found in his sugar shack, until the sap stops flowing.

Mr. Dan invited our family to come and see how the beautiful amber liquid is produced and I thought I’d take a thousand low quality photos, so that you, my people, could come along!

It all begins in his bush lot where he has tapped 4000 maple trees and collects the sap a couple times a day in his re-done milk truck tanker. It’s then stored in these sap tanks.



The sap is then pumped through this reverse osmosis system, designed specifically for sap. It removes nearly all of the water from the sap. Before Mr. Dan had this machine, he had to boil off all that extra water and it took him up to 3 times longer to make the syrup.



After the sap has been through the reverse osmosis, it becomes a concentrated sap….here it is pouring into yet another holding tank.




Then when Mr. Dan is ready to boil, the sap is piped over to this humdinger of a machine. It reminded me of the machine in the wizard of Oz, with all the steam and smoke, gauges and dials..



The majority of the steam that boils off the sap goes up through these chimneys. When outside the sugar shack, plumes of this sweet smelling steam meets your nostrils and glory be… it’s better than bacon. I’m already trying to figure out how to bottle this stuff as a perfume.




This is Mr. Dans stack of wood, he begins chopping in the fall just to have enough to get him through the sap season.




This is the belly of the beast, logs are thrown in here to keep the syrup boiling.



And here it is the star of the show…Mmm. Look at all that frothy goodness. Mr. Dan has to keep a close eye on it at this point, so that it doesn’t burn. As soon as it’s gotten too hot, the burned flavour will ruin the syrup. Thankfully, this lot of syrup was just right.






This part of the visit was good for the kids to see, making fine maple syrup requires a lot of math and science to get it just right.




Once Mr. Dan has decided that the syrup is prime, he opens the pipe and out it flows. At this point it’s still boiling hot and looks like water….or according to Ashlyn, ‘dirty, sewer water’. Nice.





The syrup is then pumped into these large steel barrels, which become burning hot from the fresh syrup.



Closed up tight, and ready to store.



Mr. Dan also packages his syrup in many different kinds sizes of bottles. He sells them at the local farmers markets and shops in his area, and also sell steel barrels to Quebec.






The colour of maple syrup is dependant on the time of the season that the sap is boiled. For instance, the beginning of the season produces a light coloured and delicate flavoured maple syrup, while the end of the season sap produces a darker syrup like the picture above. It has a much more robust maple flavour, great for cooking with.


And of course, my favourite part of the tour was the final product … warm and delicious, fresh out of the boiler… I could’ve drank a mug full.



Hope you enjoyed the tour!!