We had a great visit at the Snyder’s farm today getting a tour of their maple syrup production in action. I wish I could capture smell in pictures because when we went into the sugarhouse on this cool rainy day we were hit by the best smells of the maple syrup cooking and wood burning.
Three generations of the family were in the sugarhouse busily working while the ‘beautiful great big shiny silver machine’ was doing its thing to make the great tasting end product – maple syrup. There’s a lot of science going on here and Kevin walked us through the process from tree to bottle. It was a lot of info to retain in one afternoon but some key points that resonated were 1 – QUALITY – their syrup is of the highest quality and taste delicious! (that delicious part we already knew before we got there!) The Snyder’s follow all practices required for organic syrup production to get this great product. 2 – Sustainability, the Snyder’s manage their wood lots according to sustainable forest management and practices 3. Environmentally conscious – they use wood from their forest to cook the sap (no fuel oil) and they apply energy saving practices which reduce their energy consumption by 50%.
This is the big shiny syrup making machine – ok it’s actually called a wood fired high efficiency evaporator. This essentially is the magic machine that turns tree sap into amazing syrup.
Stoking the fire.
So if you drive by a forest that looks like this – it is not a Survivor jungle gym competition. This is one of the Snyder’s sugar bushes. They use tubing (blue lines in forest) to collect the sap as opposed to pails. This is a lot of up front work to setup but has many advantages one being efficiency and another that maple syrup producers who use the old style sap pails have run into problems with lead in the syrup from the lead soldering in the buckets. Good to know this is never a problem with Snyder’s syrup!
The syrup is hot hot hot when packaged! Anne needs to wear protective gloves to handle the jars.
I thought this was really cool – it is a cross section piece of a maple tree that shows how the tree reacts to the tap holes. On the bottom left you see a tap line and then the darker growth around it, then higher up and about 2 inches to the right you see another years tap. From that tap mark to the bark of this wood piece is approximately 20 years of growth. The only living part of the tree is the bark area so the tap holes do not grow back in, the wood just grows over it. So cool….
We had a great afternoon with the Snyder’s. We didn’t forget to pick up a few cases of syrup like we did at Christmas time. We’re definitely excited to be offering such a great product as Snyder’s Maple Syrup!