Life and Times of a Maple Family
Once upon a time, there was a loud family from suburban New Jersey who bought property in the quiet foothills of the beautiful Adirondack Mountains.
They rode quads and snowmobiles. They built a barn and a bought a tractor. They planted apple trees and fields of tall grasses to attract the wildlife. There were crazy-fun bonfires at night and their own backyard fireworks shows that echoed across the lake. They survived mud season with two boys and three dogs. For the men, peeing off the porch became the norm. They adapted to life in the mountains, and it was good.
One day a local friend asked them to join him at his family’s Sap Boil Party…” What the ^&$* is that??” Papa Bear asked…. having never seen it he was enthralled by the process…”I can sooo do this next spring!” he muttered…tapped 6 trees the following spring, steamed out the kitchen, almost destroyed the stove and created a heck of a mess… and Our Woods Maple was born!!!
Where It begins
It begins in Our Woods! The trees are the actual crop on a maple farm. Maple Syrup is a by-product of the natural sap production of the trees. The sap is always in the trees but only palatable at a certain time, dictated ONLY by Mother Nature herself! When the deep-freezing nights of the North Country give way to sunny 35-40* days, it’s on! When the sapwood (or Cambium) layer of the tree reaches 32* it creates a positive pressure allowing the sap to flow out of any “wound” to the tree - In fact, the story goes that maple syrup was “discovered” by Native Americans who happened to notice “water” coming from a wound in a maple tree, they loved the taste of the sweet water and used it to boil food, noticing a thick, sweet residue in the pot afterwards! Sap is ground water pulled up through the roots of the tree and is imparted with natural sucrose as it passes through the sapwood layer…we gather the sap, boil it down concentrating the sugars, filter it, bottle it and it’s off to you, Our Maple Peeps!!
Beginning long before tapping time, we’re watching the weather daily from about the end of December. Mother Nature is who determines when we tap. As we see the winter weather breaking, giving way to the coming pattern of freezing nights and 35*+ days, we head to the farm and get ready to tap those trees! Once there we get rolls of tubing ready, make drop lines, which are small, roughly 3’ long lines that we attach the taps to. The tap goes in the tree, the line connects into lateral lines which then flow into a main “pipe line” that runs into our barn. From there the sap is pumped directly to a large (500+ gallon) holding tank in the sugarhouse. All the lines are connected to a vacuum pump which pressurizes the system, “tricking” the trees into thinking its sap flow time! Tapping correctly is no more damaging to the tree than us giving blood! In fact, it’s much less, as the sap flows through the entire sapwood layer of the tree, only giving a very small amount to us via a single 5/16” tap hole… Once in the sugarhouse, the fire is lit and we boil until all tanks are empty, continually adding firewood every 7-8 minutes for up to 12 hours at a time!!! Once the syrup looks close to being finished, we test for density. In order to be legally called Pure Maple Syrup it must measure between approximately 66-67 Brix which is a measure of sugar in a solution. When we’re there, it goes into our filter and then we bottle it!
Take a look at our pictures and videos and please don’t ever hesitate to contact us with any questions on how we do what we do!!
It's a Family Thing
Family is at the heart of everything we do here in Our Woods from originally purchasing Our Woods as our secluded Adirondack sanctuary from the world, to hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, atv riding, hiking and generally playing in our forest, fields, streams and lakes, to working trees, cutting firewood etc. etc. etc. … In fact, Our Woods was named by our sons, Alex & JJ, when they would tug on a pant leg and ask “Daddy, when are we going to Our Woods?” after too long of a hiatus from the fun and adventure that awaited the then 5 year old’s!! (They’re 21 now!)
It’s all about our family doing something special for your family to enjoy!!!