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How our maple syrup is made: 

Tree Tapping: In mid February we set out approximately 4,300 taps.  Since 2010 the Hillegas Sugar Camp has been using the Leader Check Valve adapters on the trees (http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc/check-valve.pdf).  Along with the check valve adapters, all 4,300 taps are on a vacuum system which promotes maximum sap flow and reduces the amount of back flow of sap into the trees.  

Boiling of sap:  All sap that is collected is run through a reverse osmosis system which first increases the sugar content in the sap by removing some of the water that does not contain sugar, then the RO unit helps remove small particulate matter from the sap.  
After the sap has passed through the RO unit it is moved to a holding tank to await boiling.  The Hillegas Sugar Camp uses a 5 foot wide by 14 foot long Leader Evaporator that is heated by wood burnt in a Leader Vortex air tight arch.  The combination of reverse osmosis and the Leader Evaporator allows us to process 350 gallons of sap per hour.  For those not familiar with maple syrup it takes approximately 50 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.  

Once the sap has reached the proper temperature (7 above boiling point) and the correct density, it is removed from the evaporator and run through a filter press.  The filter press removes any sugar sands or impurities that might be present in the syrup.  From the filter press the syrup is pumped into barrels and heat sealed until bottled.  

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