Maple Acres
Maple Acres

Contact Details

Maple Acres

535 S 500 E

Avilla, IN 46710

 

Phone: 260 636-2073
Email: maple-acres@hotmail.com

 

Visiting Maple Acres

Sugaring season in Northern Indiana generally runs from early February through March.  This time frame is totally weather dependant and may vary.  We love to have visitors, but ask you to call ahead and check on conditions in the sugarbush.  Tours are available throughout the year by appointment and limited to small groups. Call for more details!

 

Maple Acres is proud to be a member of Indiana Maple Syrup Association, Noble County Tourism Bureau and Indiana Marketmaker.

 

Maple acres is registered with FDA and is a licensed Food Retail Establishment facility.

Get Social With Us

From the trees to the table

In late winter, several days before temperatures begin a freeze and thaw cycle, tapping of 1400 trees begins. We drill 5/16 diameter holes with cordless drills about 1-1/2" deep in mature Sugar Maple or Black Maple trees.

Plastic spouts are inserted into the tap holes and drop lines are attached. Trees between 10 and 18 inches in diameter will have single taps. Trees larger than 18 inches will have no more than 2 taps.

Droplines and branch lines are connected to mainlines supported by high tension wires with a 1-3% grade engineered throughout the entire system. This 12 acre woodlot has more than 27,000 feet of tubing installed.

Four 3/4 or 1" mainlines carry the sap from 900 taps to a double releaser and collection tank. A vacuum pump enhances the flow by pulling air and gasses from the lines. This tubing system with no leaks and the liquid ring pump can sustain 27" of vacuum at this location (920 feet above sea level).

This transfer pump moves sap from the collection tank to a truck and tank on the road about 320 feet away. Maple trees and their feeder roots are not damaged nor are ruts made in the woods during the maple season since no wheeled vehicles or horses are necessary to collect or move the sap.

Moving the sap to the boiling location at Maple Acres may be required at any hour of the day or night. We have gathered 3000 gallons in a 24 hour period. Grandson Carter uses a walky-talky to tell the pump operator when the tank is full.

The raw maple sap is taken to Maple Acres, checked for sugar content (usually about 2%), transferred to storage tanks and then processed through the reverse osmosis machine. This removes a majority of pure water which we save for cleaning and also pumps the condensed sap into the overhead supply tank . The sap is then approximately 8% sugar which dramatically decreases the boiling time to make maple syrup.

The concentrated sap is fed by gravity into the steam-away section of the evaporator. Steam rising from the 5 foot flue pan preheats and starts the evaporation of the sap increasing efficiency dramatically. This 30" x 8 foot unit can evaporate 160 gallons of sap per hour.

The evaporator is wood fired and uses an air injection blower system to burn very efficiently.  Firing takes place about every 9 minutes.  Bill is wearing a protective face shield, leather apron, gloves and gauntlets. The fire is intense!

Using a probe in the final syrup pan, an automatic draw-off controls the exit temperature of the syrup to 1/10 of a degree. The control must be adjusted by the operator for changes in barometric pressure.   Generally, the syrup leaves the evaporator at 219 degrees Fahrenheit.  Brother-in-law Ned waits to move the filled stainless kettle to the kitchen finishing area.

The syrup is transferred to a finishing boiler to verify the correct density with a hydrometer. This raw syrup has remaining particles of sugar sand causing a cloudy appearance. These particles are removed in the 8-bank filter press shown below.

The crystal clear syrup is then pumped from the filter press into the water-jacketed bottler where temperature is maintained at 190-195 degrees to assure sterile packaging.  Kim is filling a 12 oz. glass oval container.

Another step in quality assurance is grandson Nate ready for a taste test.

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