I'll blame the years I spent as a child in Canada for my extreme obsession for real maple syrup. Other than dark chocolate, there really aren't too many things that rate higher. We go to maple festivals and have driven hours to see how it's made. We even have a friend who tapped her own trees. She didn't believe me when I offered to come help but we did a few times and it was great!
Maple syrup is not hard to come by in PA. The problem for me is mainly a distribution issue. So many of these farms are so small they don't have a good system for wholesaling. Thankfully we found Milroy Farms, a syrup farm in Somerset County that has been super nice to work with.
Somerset is not close to us so I shipped the first case over to the store. But we were on our way back from vacation the other day and discovered it was on the way home so we were able to stop and meet them. What a treat that was! We might have been a little gross and wee bit crabby after being in a car for 8 hours but Jason was a very gracious host.
Milroy Farms is a 3rd generation maple syrup farm that takes a great pride in what they've accomplished. What started as a smallish farm has turned into over 600 hundred acres of tree tappers working together to create a great product. They have embraced technology and new systems along the way. Jason explained how they use hoses to vacuum out the syrup which produces more product. With only an 8 week window in which to collect syrup, that's pretty important.
After being collected, the sap is put into an evaporator to get the extra water out. It takes a bunch of sap to make one bottle of syrup and this machine helps the process quite a bit. The sap goes through a variety of areas including a filtering system to finally end up on the table to eat.
As we were pulling up, I looked at my husband and said, "This is the first supplier you've been to!" While I've been galavanting around the state and the kids have joined me now that summer is here, Carl hasn't been on our adventures. This was a great first visit for him! We were there for an hour looking at the farm, learning about the process, and enjoying our stop. Of course, Carl might want to buy 600 acres of rolling hills and trees and amazing views... but that will be another adventure.