Three years ago, we decided to try our hand at making maple syrup. We have two rows of sugar maple trees that were clearly planted – perhaps originally intended as a nursery rows as they are in straight lines and very close together. Of course, not really knowing exactly what we were doing and being overly enthusiastic, we tapped entirely too many of the trees and were promptly overwhelmed with the amount of sap that we got!
Our first year, we didn’t exactly have the correct equipment; we boiled sap in pots and we filtered the finished syrup through a coffee filter into mason jars! Last year, we bought a proper evaporating pan, ordered syrup jars and even made labels for our syrup. Finally, this year, Bryce had a much more efficient boiling system and was able to use every bit of sap that the trees gave us. Every year we have gotten better and faster and I believe that this has been our best year yet!
This year, to celebrate our maple syrup season, we decided to have a family dinner amongst the trees. We set up a table in the narrow confines of the sugar bush, ate a dinner made with our very own syrup and gave thanks that, as of now, we are healthy and able to be together on our farm.
I made the menu featured in the cookbook, A Simple Feast by Diane Yen. It included Maple Braised Short-ribs with Celery Root, Potato and Pear Mash. The meal was rounded out with a Brussel Sprout and Cranberry Salad and Bryce’s Maple Syrup Bourbon Smash Cocktail. For dessert: Maple Salted Ice Cream!
In these scary and unchartered times, it was so nice to be able to celebrate something positive. And while I know that one cannot live off of maple syrup alone, it was a good reminder that we have much of what we need right here on the farm. It provides abundantly! I hope that each of you are able to find something to celebrate in this season and that each one of you is well.