Maple Sugaring at the VIC
The VIC Sugar House
Maple syrup is produced from the sap of Sugar Maples by boiling.
- Fresh sap flowing out of the maple tree usually contains around 2% sugar.
- Finished maple syrup is 66-67% sugar.
- To create maple syrup from maple sap, it is necessary to increase the sugar concentration of sap. Many gallons of water need to be removed.
Usually, about 40 gallons of sap are required to produce one gallon of finished syrup, depending on the sugar content of the sap. Sap used in the VIC maple sugaring operation comes from the VIC Sugar Bush, located about 2.5 kilometers from the VIC Main Building, near the intersection of the Skidder Trail and the Easy Street Trail. As with most maple operations, the water in the sap is removed by boiling it, allowing for evaporation.
The VIC uses a wood-fired evaporator to remove the water from sap to produce syrup. Sap from the VIC Sugar Bush is transferred to a collection tank in the Sugar House, which is adjacent to the VIC Main Building. The Sugar House was built during the fall of 2013, by VIC staff, along with volunteers and Paul Smith's College students. The majority of the lumber was harvested from the VIC grounds, and some was milled on site by students using the college saw mill. The VIC is currently developing interpretive signage for the Sugar House to help visitors understand and appreciate sugar making.
The wood used to fuel the evaporator is harvested by students and staff from the VIC property and stored behind the sugar house. It takes one full cord of wood (128 cubic feet) to produce approximately 25 gallons of syrup.
Maple products produced in the VIC Sugar House are sold at the VIC store. The VIC maple sugaring operation prdouced 60 gallons of syrup during the 2013 sugaring season. At least 60 gallons of syrup are expected during the 2014 sugaring season. Maple syrup is classified according to color, which provides a rough guide to flavor intensity. The darker the syrup, the stronger the flavors. New York Grade A Light Amber is the lightest of the three classifications has a mild, delicate flavor. Medium Amber is somewhat darker with a fuller flavor. Dark Amber is the darkest of the three grades with a stronger maple and caramel flavor.