Monday, March 30, 2009

The Little Green Monster & Sugaring Season

I find myself very jealous these days of those who are living a bit further south! Although we had a glorious day Saturday (must've hit 60*F), we are back to rain/ice/snow today. After all, it is still March!

None-the-less, signs of spring abound. For example, it is sugaring time here in the North Country! I went out Saturday on the Lake Placid Loop and took in a couple different sugaring operations. The one in which I was really interested was at the Uhlien facility in Lake Placid, which is operated by Cornell. They have installed a Reverse Osmosis system, which literally sucks the sap out of the trees via vacuum. On a really good day they can get up to 800 gallons of sap an hour! When I was there they were pumping at about 400. This is then piped up to the "RO" machine, which uses reverse osmosis to pull out a lot of the water. The now super-concentrated sap is then sent to the evaporator pans, where it spends much less time than it does in a traditional sugaring outfit. They end up producing about 30 gallons of syrup an hour! And instead of it taking the usual 32-40g of sap per gallon of syrup, with the RO method they only need 6-8g of sap! It's pretty amazing.

Pictures? Of course not - I was on vacation and as we all know, I do not own a digital camera. I have some tax refund money coming, though, and it is REALLY tempting to use it for getting one!

Other signs of spring we have in Newcomb: buds on my daffodils. I'm back to work tomorrow, so I'll keep my eyes open for coltsfoot - the first flower of spring in these here parts.


  1. Did you get to taste that RO produced maple syrup? It would be interesting to compare flavors with traditionally produced syrup.

    You could save up for an expensive camera, or you could try one of the Canon Power Shots. They get terrific reviews and have great macro and zoom features and image stabilization, they fit in your pocket, and take good photos. And you can find them for just a couple hundred dollars. For posting photos on your blog that's all you need. I would never risk a multi-thousand dollar camera for some of the shots I try (I've fallen into the river and tumbled down ravines and ruined my camera in the process). Losing a less expensive one is not such a bitter loss. I try not to do it, though.

  2. I must admit that I did not sample any of their syrup (although they opportunity was there). I had just had a wonderful French Toast breakfast at the Noonmark Diner and had had my fill of sweet syrup. I had read, however, in the article in Adirondack Life that the RO syrup doesn't taste quite as sweet.

    I did, however, sample the sap from some of their genetically altered sugar maples (bred to have higher sugar content in the sap), and it definitely had a sweet and mapley taste to it, much more pronounced than sap from a "normal" sugar maple.

    Thanks for the camera advice. I've contemplated getting a cheaper point-and-shoot type of digital camera, but I really want something that does good macro shots, and I hate not having a viewfinder to use!!! I'll keep checking things out. :)