I will take you on a visit of my cousin Rodrigue Nadeau's maple grove in Canada. We speak of it as "la cabane a sucre". Here maple syrup, taffy, butter, candy (sirop dérable, tire, beure, bonbon) are made. All of these products are 100% pure and natural--nothing is added and only impurities and water is removed..
It takes 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
My cousin has 3,000 maple trees over 19 acres of land and makes about 20 barrels of syrup a year. This is a family operation which lasts about 6 to 8 weeks a year, depending on the flow of sap. This "sucrerie" has been going on for four generations now. It is not very lucrative but a pleasure (although very hard work) and largely a labor of love.
If you have never tasted pure maple sugar, syrup, taffy, and candy, you are truly missing a scrumptialiscious treat!
Join me then in this tour of how it is done today.
"Cabane a sucre"
To tap the maple trees Rodrigue uses a modern drill to bore a hole. Notice the stainless steel pail in the background.
Then a spigot is driven into the hole and the pail is attached.
Today, however, most spigots are plastic and connected to a plastic suction hose which ties all trees together in a vast web and brings the sap directly to the "cabane a sucre" and condensing tank. This tank removes 70 % of the water from the sap before boiling. All this for a faster, cleaner and more sterile operation.
Horses have been replaced by 4 wheelers. This makes for a much cleaner and sterile operation. Rodrigues son, Sylvain is shown 'driving the horses' above.
These concentrator tanks remove 70 % of the water from the sap before boiling. All this for a faster, cleaner and more sterile operation.
filters insure the purity of the sap
The horse-drawn sap sleds of the past have been replaced but maple sugaring will remain. If you look real close, you will see the plastic tubing which connect each tree to a main line for pumping of the sap under suction to a filtering station and then the evaporator.