With the "polar votex" fading fast, the sapping season finally started to arrive.
The main factor that determines when the sap will flow is the temperature. With the unusually cold winter, we got a bit of a late start. When the temperature is above freezing during the day and below freezing at night, the sap starts to flow. Freezing and thawing temperatures create pressure and force the sap out of the trees. This trend usually lasts a few weeks, long enough for WMAES to collect a few hundred gallons of sap.
WMAES has approximately 20-acres of sugar maple trees that sap is collected from. Each year, staff and students collect somewhere around 300 gallons of sap. That might sound like a lot, but it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. When the sap is collected, it is comprised of 97% water and 3% sugar. Enough water needs to be evaporated to bring it to 66% sugar, 34% water. It's a lot of work to evaporate that much water out of the sap!
The syrup will be used for a pancake breakfast for many of the students that helped collect the sap. The students can't get enough of our syrup! So the next time you're at the store and see maple syrup, don't be surprised if it's really expensive, there's a lot of work that goes into making it.
-Miss Holly and Mr. Shawn