Maple Syrup Season Ready to Go

maple_syrup

Hank Peterson has been “sugarin’” in Londonderry for 30 years and owns and operates Peterson Sugarhouse at 28 Peabody Row. Saying that the right mix – cold nights and warm days – are needed to get the sap running, he is getting ready for this spring’s sugaring season. “On a warm day, these buckets will be full of sap,” he said, pointing to tapped trees sporting lidded metal buckets behind his barn. “If we had a 40 degree day and a nighttime temperature of 20 to 25 degrees, this bucket will be full.”

The majority of the tapping comes via long blue, food-grade tubes interconnecting the trees and running by gravity to a holding tank. “It makes it easier to empty a few holding tanks than to go to every tree to collect the sap,” Peterson said.

According to Peterson, it takes 40 gallons of sap – which tastes like water with a hint of sugar – to boil down to a single gallon of the thick, amber-colored confection drizzled on pancakes, French toast, oatmeal or even snow. A New England early springtime favorite is to take warmed maple syrup and drizzle it over crushed ice, or snow as the old-timers would do; the syrup hardens into a brittle or chewy maple candy.

“Once we get the sap, we bring it to the barn, where there are two holding tanks that hold 800 gallons of sap,” Peterson said. “From there it flows into the evaporator,”
The evaporator can hold hundreds of gallons of sap and when the process is in full swing, a large opening in the roof releases billows of steam.

“If we don’t open those slats, the water that condenses would be falling like rain in here,” Peterson said of the sugarhouse. Peterson has taps all over town, some of them at Mack’s Moose Hill Orchards.
“We have a crew that comes in and helps with the taps and bringing the sap to the sugarhouse,” he explained.

“I go through a lot of wood, but even that we try and recycle. We get wood from builders and contractors that have to cut trees to be able to build what they’re building, and they bring it (the cut trees) to me instead of burying it in a landfill.” This season, Peterson said, the sugar content of the sap has been about 1.5 percent; 2.5 percent is better.

“As we get closer to the middle of spring, the sap will start getting sweeter and then at the end of the season, the sap’ll turn bitter in 24 hours and the season’s over, just like that. At this percentage, it takes more sap and more wood to burn to create the syrup,” Peterson said.
Peterson walked over to a metal bucket on a tree and removed the tented metal lid. Inside was a block of ice, and he reached in and discarded it.

“The only thing that freezes is water so everything else is sap,” he said. “You never want to tap near where you’ve tapped before. You need at least four inches in every direction and you want to tap under a major branch, because that’s where the tree is sending the sap.” For more information, contact Peterson at 432-8427. Visitors are welcome to the sugarhouse.

“It makes it easier to empty a few holding tanks than to go to every tree to collect the sap,” Peterson said. According to Peterson, it takes 40 gallons of sap – which tastes like water with a hint of sugar to boil down to a single gallon of the thick, amber colored confection driz- zled on pancakes, French toast, oatmeal or even snow. A New England early springtime favorite is to take warmed maple syrup and drizzle it over crushed ice, or snow as the old-timers would do; the syrup hardens into a brittle or chewy maple candy.

“Once we get the sap, we bring it to the barn, where there are two holding tanks that hold 800 gallons of sap,” Peterson said. “From there it flows into the evaporator,” The evaporator can hold hundreds of gallons of sap and when the process is in full swing, a large opening in the roof releases billows of steam. “If we don’t open those slats, the water that condenses would be falling like rain in here,” Peterson said of the sugarhouse.

Peterson has taps all over town, some of them at Mack’s Moose Hill Orchards. “We have a crew that comes in and helps with the taps and bringing the sap to the sugarhouse,” he explained. “I go through a lot of wood, but even that we try and recy- cle. We get wood from builders and contractors that have to cut trees to be able to build what they’re building, and they bring it (the cut trees) to me instead of burying it in a landfill.”

This season, Peterson said, the sugar content of the sap has been about 1.5 percent; 2.5 percent is better. “As we get closer to the middle of spring, the sap will start getting sweeter and then at the end of the season, the sap’ll turn bitter in 24 hours and the season’s over, just like that. At this percentage, it takes more sap and more wood to burn to create the syrup,” Peterson said.

Peterson walked over to a metal bucket on a tree and removed the tented metal lid. Inside was a block of ice, and he reached in and discarded it. “The only thing that freezes is water so every- thing else is sap,” he said. “You never want to tap near where you’ve tapped before. You need at least four inches in every direc- tion and you want to tap under a major branch, because that’s where the tree is sending the sap.” For more information, contact Peterson at 432- 8427. Visitors are wel- come to the sugarhouse.

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