The Process

 At Hanna's Maple Syrup in each of our woodlots we use a tubing system with vacuum.  This means we use food grade plastic to connect each maple tree across the woodlot.  Connecting each tree forms a network of tubing across the sugar bush, which allows the sap to flow into larger main lines that flow to bulk tanks for storage.  This technique allows us to keep the sap clean, be more efficient and reduce our labour costs as we have a small team.   

 Our process to get sap out of the woodlot sounds relatively simple,  but in-order to maximize efficiency in our tubing systems we place a lot of emphasis onto a few basic concepts.  Our tubing system is designed to be simple and direct to allow gravity to do most of the work. The tubing is kept tight, maintained and inspected on a regular basis to minimize leaks and sap loss.  We also use a vacuum pump to help move sap through the lines.  Each spring when the weather is right we head out with the tapping crew and drill into each maple tree then lightly tap a spout into the maple tree when we are ready to start harvesting sap. The guys while maintaining and taping are often comparing their step counters at about 25,000 steps. 
During sugar season our trusty truck driver is hauling all day long to keep up with the sap flow. He hauls from each of the sugar bushes to our processing facility in Auburn, ON.  Once the sap arrives at the processing facility, it is pumped through a 4 post reverse osmosis machine. The sap we collected and hauled home is naturally about 2% sugar content from the tree. The reverse osmosis process brings the sap to 18% sugar concentration by reducing the water content.   Using a reverse osmosis machine significantly reduces our boiling time.  We use a 3x14 wood fired evaporator to process our concentrated sap into the liquid gold. We store our maple syrup in 34 gallon stainless steel barrels for either the bulk market or bottling later in the year.  Each barrel is graded and weighed. 
After the end of sugar season, our tapping crew heads into the woodlot and pulls out the almost 10,000 taps.  We clean the lines with an alcohol solution, wash all the tanks and wait for next year.