Hey Alden, How many taps you up to?...Maple sugaring in New Hampshire

Maple sugaring at the Kearsage Gore Farm

Maple sugaring at the Kearsage Gore Farm

While I was doing additional research for information for this blog I stumbled across a website/forum exclusively geared to maple sugarers called Maple Traders.com . Fist pump !!!…What a valuable, informative and fun record of the events for the 2019 maple syrup season. The first thread posted in the beginning of February by white mt asks for “overall updates about tapping status and overall talk for us NH guys”. Replies ranged from number of taps, snow accumulation and expectations of the season. But as I scrolled down I began to notice a similar pattern. Each thread offered equipment used and brief histories by year of operation. For example SmellsLikeSyrupNH

2019 New Smoky Lake 2x6 raised flue, Simplicity Autodraw system, The Maple Guys Maple Jet Filter Press, a beautiful new bride to be my sugaring partner :-)
2018 Deployed to the Middle East, no surgaring for me :-(
2017 Expanded Sugar Shack, new 2x6 with float box, NEXTgen Maple RO, 250+ taps (I hope for 300), still on sap sacks
2016 New Sugar Shack, 2x6 evaporator, 160 taps, all on Sap Sacks
2015 Deployed to the Middle East
2014 110 tap all tubed buckets. 
2013 35 taps, all buckets

By the way SmellsLikeSyrupNH…Thank you for your service!!!

Evaporaters? Simplicity Autodraw System? Float boxes? and Nextgen Maple RO? HUH???? Gone are the days of our hero (maple sugarer) trudging through the snow with metal buckets filled with sap working endlessly feeding wood into his boiler with little or no sleep until the season is done. Now the the taps which can number in the hundreds (smaller operations) or thousands (larger operations) are connected by webs of thick plastic tubing which collect into one main container. Operators then use reverse osmosis machines which use high pressure pumps to remove ninety percent of the water from the sap before boiling, reducing production time and increasing efficiency. After the sap has been concentrated it is boiled down by the evaporator. This process is long and intense and there is no stopping mid-way. It is a test of endurance where on the job problem solving and the constant fiddling of equipment is the norm. And when favorable conditions do arise, a good run of sap can last twenty hours.

I had the opportunity to visit and see these machines in action at quite a few sugar houses during New Hampshire’s Maple Sugar Weekend March 23-24. I met owners and their families which often included second and third generations. I toured their farms and enjoyed maple syrup shots, maple candy and maple doughnuts. But most importantly I got to document a process which is deeply rooted in New Hampshire’s history and has remained so through a mix of modernization and Yankee spirit. To view more photographs of the process and portraits of the owners click here Maple sugar portraits