Although the snow continues to fall on our Conserve School campus, the sugar maple sap still continues to flow. The above-freezing temperatures during the day have our students and staff regularly collecting sap and transporting it to our evaporator where we turn the sap into delicious syrup.
As you near the Lowenstine Recreation Center where the evaporator is set up, the sweet smell of boiling sugary sap is heavenly. Conserve staff spend hours maintaining the fire, adding more sap as needed, and drawing off syrup when it reaches its final stage.
At the evaporator, sap enters an initial chamber that contains many channels made of stainless steel. The purpose of the channels is to increase surface area in order to heat the sap more quickly. A roaring fire directly under the pans keeps the sap boiling. Eventually, the sap goes into the final two pans where the water continues to evaporate and the sap is concentrated to the desired sugar content. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup, but that number fluctuates depending on the initial sugar content of the sap.
All of this hard work will soon pay off. We plan on enjoying the fruits of our labors during a pancake breakfast in the very near future!