We’d Tap That!
Syrup in the City
While many of us know that maple syrup can come from rural sugar maple forests, it’s also true that most varieties of our urban maple trees have sweet sap which can be boiled down into tasty syrup. This winter we’re cooking up a pilot project to tap 8-10 residential maple trees and then boil down the sap in a communal Sugaring-Off party, where everyone can come watch the process, get a taste, and enjoy the delicious bounty of our urban forest.
The project is still in development so we’re looking for people and trees who can lend their support in these early stages. Folks like Gregory Alan Elliott who designed us a logo for the project. (Check out the sneak preview above!) If you’d like to get involved, we’re looking for people who can offer their trees, volunteer to be trained to tap and monitor trees, donate supplies and equipment, or contribute event materials for the Sugaring-Off party. At this point, this project has no funding support so we’re also seeking financial donations to give it a good boost in these early stages.
Do you have one or more maple trees you would be interested in tapping for our project?
A small team of trained Not Far From The Tree volunteers (including a certified arborist) would visit the tree initially to assess the health of your tree, thereby ensuring that it’s in good shape to be tapped this year. If it makes it past that stage, another round of trained volunteers will put the spile in the tree and set up the harvesting system, which requires making only one small hole and has no significant affect on a healthy tree. This will happen sometime in late February, depending on your schedule and on the weather. Sap would then start flowing from your tree into the bucket, and depending on the weather could need to be emptied into a larger container up to twice a day, for several weeks.
We are setting up a system in which dedicated volunteers could come by to do some of this harvesting, but for this year’s pilot we are especially looking for tree owners who would be interested in doing a significant share of harvesting work themselves. This is a great opportunity to participate in the entire process of making syrup, without having to do the messy boiling part (that has been known to peel wallpaper in home experiments) in your kitchen!
To sign up your tree, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Approximate diameter of your tree(s) (it has to be at least a foot wide to be able to tap it)
- Variety of maple (if you know it)
- If you have any place you could store the sap (ie: a cold basement or extra fridge/freezer space)
- Your interest level (ie: Would you be able to empty the sap twice a day, or would you want a volunteer to take care of it)
- Your Postal Code
Maybe you don’t have your own maple tree, but you’d still like to be part of the process? Great! We’re looking for dedicated volunteers to match up with maple owners who live close to them. After receiving training, you would go to the tree once a day for several weeks (late February/early March) to transfer the sap into a larger container and put it into storage. Have questions, or want join in on the fun? Email email@example.com indicating your interest and your postal code.
We also have a list of supplies we’re collecting for this project. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated:
- 2 litre pop bottles (washed and dried) with lids (If you could start collecting these for us, we will pick them up in mid-February to sore the sap in)
- Food grade buckets (ie: no paint/chemicals etc.) with lids
- Access to walk-in or chest refridgerator/freezer space
- Any maple syrup spiles you might have lying around!
- Pancake ingredients and other party fun for the Sugaring-Off party
Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help us out with any of this.
We look forward to hearing from you!
P.S. Expect us to print up some t-shirts… with a name like “We’d Tap That!”, how can we resist?