Boiled down from the tree sap harvested from maple trees towards the end of winter, pure maple syrup is an otherwise unprocessed, authentic product of nature.
The sap is gathered over 12 to 20 days, usually between early March and late April, according to the region. In springtime, when the nights are still cold, water from the soil is absorbed into the maple tree. During the day, the warmer temperature creates pressure that pushes the water back down to the bottom of the tree, making it easy to collect the precious maple sap.
Each maple tree is ‘tapped’ – A hole three inches deep is drilled into the maple tree, and a metal spile, or channel, is placed there to guide the flow of the dripping sap.
The sap can now be collected.
Traditionally, a container was hung from the spile to collect the sap.
Nowadays a network of tubes is used to connect the trees to a vacuum pump that pulls on the sap and encourages it to flow.
The sap is collected into and processed at a building called the Sugar House.
First, the sap is boiled in long pans called evaporators.
As it boils, the water evaporates and it becomes denser and sweeter until it reaches the consistency of syrup.
About 40 litres of sap boils down to one litre of pure maple syrup.
The finished bulk syrup is taken to be inspected, tasted and graded before it is bottled or canned, and then shipped.