The Jager Farm in Minnesota is always a hubbub of activities in early Spring, it’s Maple Syrup season.
The birds are chirping and the trails around the farm are a muddy mess. Nature is slowly starting to come out of it’s winter hibernation and that is everyone’s cue that it’s time to take stock of the equipment that will be needed to make maple syrup.
From the tree taps to the collection sacks, everything must be inspected to make sure that it’s in good working order. If a collection sack has a hole in it is replaced right away. The lines that carry the sap from the tree to the collection tanks need to be inspected for holes as well.
Once everything is in it’s right place then everyone waits for the right weather temperature so the sap will start to flow. The perfect weather pattern is warm days and below freezing temperatures at night.
The climate is right and the sap collection begins! There are lines that run from tree to tree and collect all the sap at one collection point. There are also blue plastic bags that hang off the end of spigots that collect the sap. These bags have to be emptied on a regular basis so they don’t become too full or end up running over.
There’s a bag.
. . . and another
. . . and another
. . . and there’s so many more, you don’t even know where to begin!
The next couple of pictures show you how the maple tree sap flows in the collection lines. Gravity helps to bring the sap from the trees to the collection point.
Here is a close-up of a tapped maple tree. The tree gives off the sap every spring. Trees are not hurt by this at all, the sap is a by-product of the tree growth process in early spring.
Once all the sap is collected, or the container is full, the tree sap is brought over to the barn to begin the cooking process. Nobody wants to spill any of the sap now, so the tank has to be checked on a regular basis.
Did you know that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup!
The first step in the cooking process is the Reverse Osmosis (RO) machine. This machine take a small amount of the water out of the sap before it gets boiled. The second step in the process is the evaporation step. The evaporation takes place in a large stainless steel pan. Here is where the cooking begins.
You’re not really cooking the sap, but instead you are boiling down the maple tree sap until it thickens and the sugar content begins to caramelize. The boiling temperature is brought to over 200 degrees for this process to begin. At the Jager Farm a wood burning stove is used for the cooking (see below).
Once the desired temperature is reached than it is drawn off the pan. The brown liquid now looks like actual maple syrup, but it will still needs to be filtered before it is ready for human consumption.
The maple syrup barn at the Jager Farm
The final product, delicious maple syrup, is bottled and ready to be sold!
Guide To Maple Tree Tapping
Do you think you have what it takes to make Maple Syrup? Here is a great Guide to Maple Tree tapping starter kit for kids ages 5 to 95. It comes with (10) 5/16 inch Maple tree taps (spiles); (10) 5/16 inch x 3-foot blue drop line tubes; (1) One quart maple sap filter; 80 Page Fully Illustrated Guide to Maple Tapping Book; and instruction sheet.
The Jager’s Sugarbush Maple Syrup is available to purchase!
Stop by the Jager Farm in Rural Minnesota (near Long Prairie) and pick some up today. The container sizes include Gallon, Quart, pint and 1/2 pints. Send us a message if you need directions or a phone number to check on pricing.
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