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What you need to know about different grades of syrup:
The maple sugar season in western Massachusetts usually begins around mid February and continues till the first of April. When the daytime temperatures start to rise above freezing and the nights continue to freeze at this time we take to the woods with our drills, buckets, and pipeline to gather sap from the sugar maple trees. During the month of March we have consecutive days above freezing and nights below freezing, which allows for constant sap flow. We must then go and collect the sap from the sugar maple trees daily to produce high quality maple syrup.
Our maple sugar operation sets about 5000 taps. On an average day we collect around 2,500 gallons of raw sap, trucking it to our Sugar Shack. We keep our wood fired evaporator running 24/7 and boil down the raw sap into pure maple syrup. It takes about 40 gal of sap to produce 1 gal. of pure maple syrup. When the sap reaches 219 and a half degrees and measures to 68% sugar content, it is then considered maple syrup. We then must check for the correct density and color. At this point we can determine the grade and package it for resale. The following is examples of different grades:
Golden Color - (delicate taste) Has a light maple flavor and is light in color. Most commonly produced early in the season.
Amber Color- (rich taste) Still light in color, this syrup has a more full-bodied maple flavor. Most commonly produced mid-season.
Dark Robust - (Strongest maple flavor) Is for those who prefer a substantially robust maple flavor.
NORTH HADLEY SUGAR SHACK 181 RIVER DR. HADLEY, MA 01035 413-585-8820