Though the methods and technologies have modernized in recent years, four generations of the Garland family have made maple syrup from the trees on their century-old farm. Stereokroma visits the Garland Sugar Shack in Eastern Ontario to see how they make this Canadian food icon:
…first using the traditional method of spile and bucket and boiling the sap down on a box stove, and now modernizing their process to use pipelines and an industrial-grade evaporator. They currently have approximately 4,200 taps and are working their way up to a large-scale product of 10,000. The process involves collecting the sap, then boiling it down to a thick syrup, and refining it into an edible product. The most surprising part of the process was that maple sap actually carries lots of natural, gritty sands that need to be filtered out.
How long does the process take? Well, we were there for about 16 hours to film, and Ivan was still working hard after we left at 1:30am on the same batch. Although the concept of the process is simple, it is hard-work requiring plenty of supervision and technical knowledge.
More science behind syrup: SciFri’s Suckers for Sap. Plus: Cutting honey combs and bottling honey by hand and Cinnamon – Harvesting Cassia in the Jungles of Sumatra.