Students at Lura M. Sharp Elementary School recently learned that preparation, dedication and hard work can have some satisfying results.
Billie Pickert, of Spring Hill Maple Farm in Rodman, NY, stopped by the school to hold a presentation on what it takes to make authentic maple syrup. Pickert explained that maple season is quickly approaching, as “tapping” of maple trees usually begins around the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
“The best time to make maple syrup is when it’s warm during the day and cold at night,” Pickert explained.
Pickert said the first step in the production of maple syrup is for a maple farmer to properly identify a species of maple tree that produces syrup, and noted that authentic maple syrup can only be produced in the Northeastern portion of North America.
Once a tree has been identified, the farmer will drill a small hole in the tree – called tapping – and collect sap that exudes from the tree. From there, the farmer must gather all the sap and bring it back to a “sugar house,” where it will be boiled and filtered.
Once the sap has been boiled for an extended period of time, it will evaporate and transfer into syrup.
“It takes 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of syrup,” Pickert said. “This is because 98 percent of sap is water.”
To help emphasize her presentation, Pickert brought several tools utilized by a maple farmer during the production of maple syrup and allowed students to practice with the tools.
Students were also afforded a lesson into the history of maple syrup, which can be traced back to the Native Americans.
At the conclusion of Pickert’s presentation, students and teachers were treated to a sample of maple syrup, proving that the process of making the product is well worth the sweet reward.