How does the small state of Vermont lead the country in maple sugar production with competitors the size of Wisconsin and New York?
Maple sugaring is an ancient method of extracting sugar from the Sugar Maple Tree, taught to the early colonial settlers by the native Americans. The art of sugaring has been practiced and perfected on family farms for generations.
But Vermonters, with their Yankee ingenuity, are not satisfied by continuing the tradition in the ways of their forefathers. Vermont sugarmakers are embracing the latest technologies in producing maple syrup to get the most out of a very short and unpredictable season. Through research at the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, the collection of sap from the sugarbush has greatly improved in quantity as well as the continued qualitative improvement and preservation of the sugarbush. With technological advances in the design of evaporating equipment from Leader Evaporator in Swanton, Vermont, turning that sap into syrup has become more efficient.
In this short educational documentary I will walk you through the sugaring process and how it has improved over the last couple of decades.
Created using a trial version of Adobe Premier Pro. First Published May 6, 2013.
As the days grow longer we anxiously anticipate the coming season. Spring? No!
Life Cycle of a Maple Tree
Sugaring season! For a few short weeks when the days are above forty degrees and the nights still below freezing the maple sap begins to run. And when will this happen? We can only wait and see. The farmers get the sap buckets and the sap lines prepared, tap the trees in the sugarbush and stock the sugarhouse with firewood. Then they will wait until those first few drops of sap start to collect. We will have to wait in suspense until we see the sweet steam rising from the sugarhouse to know that it is here.
Tapping for Sap
My idea was to capture the tension and anticipation of the thick syrup pouring. I also wanted to capture the light coming through the golden sweet liquid, and possibly to highlight the differences in grades of syrup. I employed the tool of the tension vs. resolution in the cold winter tree in the snow and the eventual product of warm maple syrup. I wanted to capture the life cycle of the sugar maple (mature tree, dead stump, sap bucket, pitcher of syrup, spring snow.) I really wanted to capture something artistic about the spring sun and the translucence of the syrup (warm syrup on a warm maple plank). I also played with cropping and telescopic shots. The resolution is, of course, the waffles!
The Sweet Reward
Originally published February 11, 2013.
Maple Tree Bark
Maple Tree Buds & Twigs
The assignment was to take 20 pictures of one thing and pick out three to post. Originally posted February 4, 2013.