Spring is coming and we are in the midst of our farms’ first harvest of the year; maple water! Indigenous Peoples of this territory call this land, these northeast forests, Maple Nation. Such is the value of this keystone species, that the lands it thrives on were named after Maple.

For the second year now we are participating in a city-wide Sugarbush led by Rebekka Henriksen, Farm to School Coordinator for Schenectady City School District. While healthy Sugar Maple trees yield the most Maple water, all Maple trees can be tapped for Maple syrup.

Centered at Schenectady’s Zoeller Elementary School, the Maple water collected from the elementary school grounds, our farms and elsewhere around the city, is boiled down, in long and slow process, to the Maple syrup many of us know and love! Forty gallons of Maple water yields one gallon of Maple syrup; a precious liquid indeed. The syrup will be distributed first to Zoeller students.

The sap was immediately flowing when these trees were tapped. They require warm days and cold nights for optimal flow. Rebekka drilled about 2 inches, cleaned out the hole with another stick, then positioned the sterilized sap spouts, called spiles, with a mallet. Collection bags and sometimes buckets are placed on the spile to collect the sap.

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