Sunday, March 22, 2009

Syrupdipity

High: 28 °F
Low: 13 °F
Conditions: Partly cloudy with a chance of flurries.

This past weekend was Maine Maple Sunday, the one day a year when the entire state turns out to celebrate our favorite sweetener.

On the fourth Sunday of every March, the maple syrup producers open their doors and invite the public in for tours, information on sugaring, and lots of really wonderful tastings. How could we say no?




This year, we visited Kinny's Maple Syrup, one of the larger operations in our area. Each day, 6500 gallons of sap travel from the farm maple stand through this rubber tubing, eventually pooling here, in a 2000 gallon holding tank.




From there, the sap travels inside the sugar shack, where it enters the first of two condensers.



When it leaves the tree, sap registers a sugar level of less than 2%, which means that it must be reduced dramatically before it becomes recognizable as syrup. To achieve a single gallon of syrup, then, the sugar makers must boil down 40 gallons of sap.



Once it is reduced, the syrup enters the second boiler, where it is further refined and darkened.



While inside the shack (a misnomer if ever there was one, given the size and surgical cleanliness of this place), we were able to take a full tour of the facility. We also saw evidence of the struggles between sugarmakers and wildlife, including this warning about Ari's nemesis:


We also sampled the local wares, including twice dipped syrup donuts:

And spun syrup candy:

But by far and away the most illuminating aspect of the tour was the opportunity to learn about (and taste) different syrup grades.


As this file photo reveals, syrups range from light to dark, with the former considered the most refined and, thus, valuable. We humans in the group will clearly never become syrupeliers, since we universally liked the darkest of the group. As for the caninaturalist, her only preference was for the syrup most readily available:

26 comments:

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

YUMMY!

We are furry jealous! Maple syrup and SNOW!

Hugz&Khysses,
Khyra
PeeEssWoo: Are woo getting set fur woo know what?

Lorenza said...

Sure you had a very interesting tour!
The maple syrup we get here is fake!
Kisses and hugs
Lorenza

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

Does Ari like syrup covered donuts? I think I need to try some!

As for the squirrel damage, perhaps Ari should get a job patrolling the syrup farm. She'd take care of the problem in a hurry! I volunteer to be her deputy.

Steve

Marigold said...

Yum! Did they have syrup covered Peanuts? Yum!

Naturegirl said...

Mmmmm...my favorite Ari..maple syrup fresh from the tree! None here in AZ but if I were at home I'd be participating in gathering good thing I have a good stock at home!! Enjoy the taste for me!!

Southbay Girl said...

wow Ari you got to taste syrup? And there is a specific syrup day? You guys are lucky!!! I wish we had a syrup day!!!

Woof

Velcro

John Theberge said...

Wow, they have quite the operation up there. Beats the old days when they had individual buckets on each tree they had to empty by hand. To answer your question, I have seen some robins in my area and last week the red winged blackbirds showed up too.

MHFC said...

Bring some back when you do your book tour of central Illinois!

The Army of Four said...

Mmmm... look at those doughnuts! Mmm...
Luv,
Dave

The OP Pack said...

Very interesting and informative post - we learned a lot. One time many years ago, Mom and family visited some friends in Quebec City and had the simplest and really tasty dessert - a slice of fresh bread, pour on some yummy thick cream and sprinkle with real maple sugar - she said it was so good.

Happy syruppy week!

Woos, the OP Pack

YD said...

Ari, that was fun that you get to go on that little tour. And the best part, get to taste the maple syrup! We envy you.

Hugs,
Sam & June

Cyber-sibes said...

Woo-hoo, maple syrup!!!! We like it too. We didn't know it came from trees, ours always comes from the cold box. It often has pancakes attached to it too.

Woos & a-rooos,
Star & Jack a-roo

Simba and Jazzi said...

Hope you enjoyed your weekend.

Simba and Jazzi xxx

Tracey and Huffle said...

It's very hard to get real maple syrup in Australia - most times it's called maple flavoured syrup which you just know is not real.

Huffle Mawson

Team Husky said...

This looks fury yummy!!!

We just had a look at yur new book.....WOW it looks great! We wish we could buy it over here in New Zealand!

Team Husky

The Daily Echo said...

Oh my dog - those donuts....well.....I'm speechless and that just doesn't happen very often!
ECHO

Turbo the Sibe said...

I take this as a sign that my Human needs to give me some maple syrup. I mean, like NOW!

Sitka, Tia, & Cornelia Marie said...

If you could only see the drool that is coming from my mom when she saw the photo of the cotton candy....
Hugs,
Sitka

Insulin pump said...

You are going to give your dog diabetes. Seriously, why don't you just kick Ari in the pancreas.
(ok I'm just jealous that your dog gets fresh Maine Maple syrup)

Kess And Her Mama said...

Oohh..Mum loves maple syrup. What a treat to be able to visit tje place where the golden syrup is made! After reading your post, Mum now wants to have pancake and syrup for breakfast!

Eve said...

I feel like I need to go wash up now!

Me and my puppies said...

It all sounds so good but could you send some of those twice dipped syrup donuts down north? We could make a cuppa tea and enjoy some of them.

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

that is so cool. We never knew how they made that yummy syrup. We just know they hang those buckets on the tree..
Looks like you got a yummy treat Ari...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

JB's Big World said...

Very interesting to see the syrup process. Is it ok for dogs to eat syrup?
--JB

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Ooooh, that looks good. Even Jan is drooling. She loves maple syrup.

And you were right on it with your comment. Jan would be lost without our help.

Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrrr Ari
it looks tasty Harrrrr.
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate