Country Maple Farms Shelburn MA Jim and Angel Bragdon
Apr 30, 2014

Where Does the Time Go?

I can't believe its already been a month since my last blog post.  The rest of sugaring season flew by!!  Read on to hear about the rest of the season.


In the midst of sugaring season not only did we go to the Trade Show in Boston we also went to the Syrup Festival at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls.  Here is a link to their website.  We offered free samples of syrup and had syrup and candy for sale.  All three of the shows were very good.  Here is a picture of our set up in the front of the auditorium from where I was standing.

 When it gets really cold out and you haven't collected your buckets this is what happens...

We are lucky that we went out early in the morning this day and there wasn't too much ice :)  Some of the days it was super nice out.  Which makes for taking bright and happy photos!

When it gets really warm out and your boiling that also means if you're the one firing the evaporator you get really hot.  On those days we like to keep the doors open so the air flows.

One the syrup comes off the evaporator before it can be canned up it has to be filtered in the filter press.  Here is a photo of the filter press while I was putting it together.  Notice how clean the white filter papers are...

Once our 30ish gallon tank is close to full we have to add diatomaceous earth to the syrup.  This is what makes the filter press works.  The diatomaceous earth gets stuck to the filter papers and prevents anything but syrup to get through.  If you ever ask Jim what diatomaceous earth is he will tell you its the maple flavoring ;)  Here is a photo of the syrup with the diatomaceous earth before it was mixed in.

After the diatomaceous earth is all mixed in and the syrup is hot it is run through the filter press and put into whatever container you want to use that is food safe.  We used a lot of kegs this year.  They are stainless steel, lighter weight than our 30 gallon drums and are easy to handle.  Here is a picture of the press while I was taking it apart... you have to use a fresh batch of filter papers every time you use the filter press.

After finishing this post I remembered that I made a short video of the unfiltered syrup (tube on the right) going into the press and the filtered syrup (tube on the left) coming out and going into a keg.  

Not a very good video but you can definitely tell that the unfiltered tube is way more cloudy then the filtered tube.

I would have to say we had an okay year.  It was horrible but it was super great.  We made a little more than half as much syrup as last year.  Thanks for everyone who helped out or just came by while we were boiling :)