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Wayne Conservation District

Posted on: September 5, 2018

NEPA Maple Producers Host 2018 PA Maple Tour

A tapped sugar maple tree with sap dripping into a metal bucket.

HONESDALE – Centered at the Hotel Anthracite in Carbondale, the 2018 Northeastern Pennsylvania Maple Producers Association visits three regional maple sugaring operations as part of a two-day State Council meeting and trade show Sept. 21 and 22.

The event kicks off Friday evening with registration and a trade show from 5:30 to 8 pm and the Council meeting at 7 o’clock. On Saturday, tour registrations continue from 7 to 7:45 am with breakfast buffet served from 6:30 to 8 o’clock.

The buses leave at 8 am, with the first stop at the Spring Hills Farm in Dalton, which has been producing maple syrup since 1995 -- growing in stages from 200 buckets and a 2x6 evaporator, to the current 2,800 taps and gravity tubing. Most of the sap runs into a central collection tank in the woods, which is then pumped through a 1-inch line for half a mile to the sugarhouse.  The sap gets boiled down on a wood fired 4x14 CDL/Leader drop flue evaporator with a Steam-Away.  All the syrup gets bottled immediately after the season and stored in retail containers. 

Next, the tour visits Dutch Hill Preserves in Canadensis, a family business with 2,500 taps all on tubing and vacuum. Half the taps are on the family property and the other half are on leased property where the sap is collected and then trucked back to the sugarhouse. The sap is given a jump start in the concentration of sugars by using reverse osmosis, and the boiling is completed using a wood fired 2x6 Algiers evaporator with a steam hood. 

Finally, the tour stops at Lake Russell Maple in Newfoundland, located on the site of a former 450-acre farm-retreat. Five years ago, they expanded from 200 taps to 23,000. The diverse terrain includes a 51-acre lake where the sap travels underwater from one of four pumping stations to reach the sugarhouse. They use a 4x16 CDL propane-fired evaporator. Wi-Fi cameras allow them to monitor the vacuum pumps and tanks from off-site. 

A catered lunch will also be provided while at Lake Russell Maple, courtesy of the Backroads Café, a local restaurant whose owner has family history in maple production.  Hotel Anthracite will provide a cash bar and the evening meal in their banquet facility, followed by presentations from the PA Maple Ambassador contestants. Entertainment will be provided by local musicians Kelly and Susan Pratt. 

The cost of the tour varies with participation, and more information is available by calling 570-689-7552.

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