Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Maple Syrup in Muskoka

Word from hard maple stands in Muskoka is that the sap is starting to run!

Buckets on trees
Maple syrup production has a long history in Canada, beginning with aboriginal people. Check out some neat photos of some of the first sap collection techniques used here.
Tools of the trade
Remember, it's the International Year of Forests, to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. Maple syrup and forest health are strongly linked.
Sugar bush management involves thinning the trees to improve the health of the woodlot and the sap producing potential of individual maple trees. The development of wide and deep crowns is encouraged to support the production of large volumes of sweet sap.
The types of trees removed in improvement operations include the following:
  • Non-maple species including hemlock, beech and ash which interfere with the growth of maple crop trees.
  • Over-mature trees
  • Diseased, dying and defective trees
  • Trees producing sap with a sugar content of less than 1%

But remember, it is good practice to maintain species diversity to accommodate other values including aesthetics, wildlife and bio-diversity.

Tapping the tree
Feeding the fire to boil the syrup
Did you know?...It takes about 40 litres of Sugar Maple sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup!
Filtering the syrup
Upcoming workshop: Savour Muskoka is running a workshop at Brooklands Farm this Sunday, March 20th about maple syrup production fundamentals. For more details and a full description visit the "Stewardship Workshops and Events" page.

Want to know more?
Thanks to Ariel Zwicker for the great photos from her family maple syrup operation!

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