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400 gallons of maple syrup from an acre, within 7 years

 
Milo Jones
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Originally posted in Meaningless Drivel

I missed this when it was posted there.

I found a research article from UVM New method may revolutionize maple syrup industry

Around me sugar maple saplings are almost a weed, good for little before they are 20 years old for firewood or older for syrup.

6000 trees per acre would be a 32" spacing between each, that would be tight. The main trunk is cut off chest high, so it would be more a bush environment than forest.

There would be considerable expense for tubing and a vacuum pump, plus the equipment to boil the sap down.

I find this intriguing.
 
Peter Ellis
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Interesting. I wonder what level of vacuum is required. Definitely interesting. Shortens the time to production tremendously.
 
Ann Torrence
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I imagine this would work with birch too. Best pancake syrup ever was from Alaskan birch syrup. Bloody expensive though.
 
Ann Torrence
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I was wondering if you could reduce the syrup by freeze concentration, like apple jack. Turns out the flavor is developed by cooking, according to this 1950 publication.

BUT--I suspect it isn't an either/or proposition. Reduce the water volume by freezing (which should be free in sapping season!) and then do the final cooking that gives it molecular character. With plenty of sticks lying about from the coppicing to vacuum out the sap, this sounds like an easy job for a rocket stove.

Let's see, 400 gal of syrup, farmers market $40 gal...$16K per acre...less marketing, packaging and labor costs...now stack some other stuff on that...a decent income stream on fallow land for sure.
 
Milo Jones
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I have been chewing on this a bit, too. Here's a couple of more articles: Also mentions coppicing and pollarding for growth management

and

which also mentions reverse osmosis and (briefly) developing particularly sweet varieties of maples This article also mentions that the freeze/thaw cycle required for the sap to flow benefits smaller trees rather than more traditional trees. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this (never made syrup other than one tasty experiment) apparently the smaller trees don't require as much of a freeze for the tree to freeze, or as much as a thaw for the tree to thaw. It makes sense, less mass, less energy required.

A link on reverse osmosis

Of course, they have applied for patents. Apparently for this item As well as the process of using a vacuum.
 
Milo Jones
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On a much smaller scale, if a homestead only wanted 10-20 gallons of syrup a year that would be 150 to 300 trees (bushes?). Spread that over an acre and it leaves plenty of sunshine and room for other annuals.
 
Adam Moore
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Speaking of maple syrup, the sap started flowing yesterday for me here in Ohio! yum
 
Cj Sloane
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Ann Torrence wrote:I was wondering if you could reduce the syrup by freeze concentration, like apple jack.


Yes, toss out the frozen chunks to concentrate it.
 
Cj Sloane
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According to a person at NRCS, vacume pumping does stress the tree and can't be done every year. There are grants for reverse osmosis, in Vermont, anyway.
 
Andrew Parker
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Anyone want to be the first to try this with box elder? Maple grows painfully slow here in Utah, but box elder doesn't seem to suffer from the altitude and climate. (I wonder if tapping the sap would reduce the number of box elder bugs. I know -- fat chance. I can always hope, though.)

Investment in reverse osmosis would be a requirement to making it somewhat economical, I am guessing.

Does mountain maple produce a sweet sap?
 
Ann Torrence
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Andrew Parker wrote:Anyone want to be the first to try this with box elder? ...Does mountain maple produce a sweet sap?

Yes..and walnut..and birch Two parallel threads
 
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