Mechanical, Groundskeeping and Construction Students Are Busy with the Annual Tradition of Tapping Sugar Maple Trees

Mechanical, Groundskeeping and Construction students are busy with the annual tradition of tapping sugar maple trees. With temperatures below freezing at night and above freezing during the day, tis the season for making maple syrup.  Under supervision of instructors Mr. Hall and Mr. Lynch, both junior and senior labs partake in the process.

The maple syrup operation at Maplewood Career Center has been a long standing tradition. Sugar maple trees have been tapped on this property for over the last 100 years, long before the school was built.

Students tap the trees and the sap runs into collection bags and buckets. Students retrieve the sap on a daily basis, for about five weeks. Students pour the sap into a 150 gallon collection tank. The collection tank feeds into an evaporator, where the sap turns into syrup over the course of about three hours. From the evaporator, the syrup is filtered for sugar sand. Finally, to the canning unit, where jars are filled with fresh syrup and sealed for sale.

The taps will eventually dry out when temperatures are above freezing. The trees start to bud, and the sap stops flowing. Taps are removed until next year.

Maplewood has about 450 taps in the sugar bush on school property.

Student making syrup

Ricky Shaffer carries two collection buckets full of sap. Each bucket weighs close to 40lbs.

 

Student making syrup

James Warner is getting ready to pull the bucket off of the spout to collect the sap.

 

Students making syrup

Hannah Cottrell and Samantha Heldman are working with the morning collection crew.

 

Student making syrup

Ricky Shaffer with a bucket of sap.

 

Student making syrup

Charles Strahler waits for the tractor and sap wagon.

 

Student making syrup

Francesca Epperly driving the tractor through the sugar bush.

 

Student making syrup

Ricky Shaffer pours cold clear sap into the tank from a fresh run.

 

Student making syrup

Hannah Cottrell checking a bucket as the students progress through the sugar bush.

 

Student making syrup

Mr. Lynch passes buckets up to Nathan Dorsey on the sap wagon.

 

Student making syrup

Nathan Dorsey observes as the sap is off loaded from the collection tank to the white 1000 gallon holding tank. The sap will then be pumped into the sugar house where the evaporation process begins.

 

Student making syrup

Zack Manion packs up freshly bottled maple syrup to be brought down to the main office to be sold.

 

Student making syrup

Jesse Arnett checks to see if the syrup is ready to come off the evaporator. The syrup is ready when it hits a density of 59 brix on the hydrometer.

 

Student making syrup

Once the syrup comes off the evaporator, it is filtered twice and then canned. Pictured is Ron Southwick operating the canning unit.

 

Student making syrup

Chris Rucker smiles as he helps out with the canning process.

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