Arboretum News Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup Season Begins

Tree Tuesday: Maple Trees are producing sap for delicious Arboretum Maple syrup.

Editor’s Note: We’re celebrating our Season of Trees with Tree Tuesday on the Nature Notes blog. Come back each Tuesday for stories exploring the Arboretum’s trees and tree collections.

Arboretum Gardener Richard DeVries pours a bag of sap collected from a tree into a bucket. The sap will be cooked down in an evaporator to make syrup. Photo by Chris McNamara.

Warm days and freezing nights provide the perfect conditions for collecting sap from Maple trees to boil into syrup. By the end of February, over 300 sugar maple trees had been tapped and the sap was flowing at the Arboretum. “We have been cooking all day Friday and we will be cooking all day today,” said Arboretum Gardener Richard DeVries on Monday. DeVries manages maple syrup production at the Arboretum. “We just made the first 5 gallons of syrup this morning, and it is a beautiful lighter amber. We already bottled it and delivered it to the Gift & Garden Store. We also bottled some syrup from the end of 2019 season for people that prefer a darker, more robust syrup.”

DeVries and his team have evaporated close to a 1,000 gallons of sap so far, and there are about 600 gallons that still need be processed, he said. In general it takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. “Sap flow slowed down quite a bit because it didn’t freeze over the weekend,” DeVries said. “It should get going again this week after it gets into the twenties at night. The weather forecast looks good for sap flow the rest of the week.”

Watch for limited quantities of Black Walnut Syrup at the Gift & Garden Store later this season. Photo by Chris McNamara.

This year DeVries is tapping Black Walnut trees for sap to make syrup using the same process. “We have collected 20 gallons of walnut sap, and we will start cooking that down later this week,” DeVries said. DeVries is also bottling some of last year’s Black Walnut Syrup, which will be on sale at the Gift & Garden Store later this season.

Learn about maple syrup from tree to tasting, and then enjoy a pancake breakfast at the Arboretum on March 28. Take a Maplefest Trail and Sugarhouse Tour to find out how to tap a tree, check a sapflow pressure gauge and see sap boiling. Finish the tour with a maple syrup tasting.

Reserve your spot at the Maplefest Pancake Breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 28 in the MacMillan Auditorium.

Maple syrup produced at the Arboretum is on sale at the Arb’s Gift & Garden Store in the Oswald Visitor Center.

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