Pure Maple Syrup is part of a “sugarers” business now focused completely on Pure Maple Syrup, and soon, other maple products, including candies, maple sugar, etc.
Making Pure Michigan Maple Syrup was the first of our productive endeavors on the homestead. In our first spring,we tapped 13 Sugar Maples. We did this simply for fun, and we shared the experience with friends in our community.
In the years since we have expanded annually, to 20, then to 50, 60, 500, 750, and finally 1,000 taps. Still we are relatively very small producers, and having chosen Buckets as our collection tool it’s likely we won’t get bigger than 2,000 taps.
Sap Collection and Hauling
Our intent is to stay with Buckets and People for sap collection, Draft Horses for hauling sap to the Sugar House, and a Wood Fire for evaporation. While these methods can be more labor-intensive, more costly, and hence less profitable, and we see the benefit in Community-building. And, the more traditional methods connect us to an old way of living that involved direct contact with the earth, with people, and with our means of sustenance.
The tool of choice for evaporting sap to maple syrup in years one and two (to 50 and 60 taps) of the ramp-up was the Leader Half Pint with the “Supreme” pan. In going up by an order of magnitude to 500 taps we had to invest heavily in a new evaporator; a again we chose Leader as our manufacturer, and Sugar Bush Supplies in Mason, Michigan, as our vendor. We have chosen and continue to choose Wood Fire as our energy source; the fuel can be gathered locally, it’s sustainable and it’s renewable.