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Welcome to Plymouth Sugarworks!

Making maple syrup was almost an accident.  In 2016 a home brewing friend picked up a 10 pack of taps and gave us two.   Those two taps gave us a about gallon of sap that we boiled down to around 4 tablespoons of maple syrup.  We were hooked at that first taste.  Unexpectedly, producing maple syrup and homebrewing have a lot in common, so all that was needed that first year was to order additional taps.  We grew to 30 taps, then 55, and eventually round 120 to be a manageable number. 

Making maple syrup really is a social event.  There are maple forums, Facebook groups, and I was surprised to learn my coworkers were into it.  There’s even a non-profit group (Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut) that brings producers from 1 tree to 10,000 trees together to learn about sugar making.  It’s a hobby that slowly grows into an obsession.  While waking up at 5:00am to collect sap might sound like a horrible idea to some, there’s something calm about being outside just before dawn and realizing that spring is just around the corner. 

As we increased the number of trees we tapped on our property, and after positive feedback from friends, we began Plymouth Sugarworks.  We’ve followed in the footsteps of others who turn a hobby into a passion.  We’re also one of the few that produce maple syrup using only solar power. 

Maple syrup production in Connecticut is entirely dependent on Mother Nature.  For maple sap to flow the temperature must rise above freezing during the day, and fall below freezing at night.  While we often tap in mid-January, the season typically begins in mid-February, and ends in March. 

To make a single bottle of maple syrup it takes anywhere from 40 to 70 bottles of sap.  The reason for the wide range is that the sugar content of maple sap varies depending on the species of maple trees (sugar, silver, red) and the time of the season.  On our property the average gallon of sap is 1.3% sugar.  Typically, sap is boiled until the sugar content is between 66% and 68.9% sugar, which is the USDA’s requirement for maple syrup.  

All grades or colors of maple syrup have the same sweetness, with the lighter syrup that comes earlier in the season having less maple flavor than the darker syrup that comes later in the season.  Historically the lighter syrup was more valuable because it could make maple sugar that was closer in color to the refined sugar used in baking.  Today there is no price premium as most people favor the rich maple taste of darker syrup. 

Maple syrup isn’t refined or processed, so it contains minerals and antioxidants that aren’t found in other sweeteners, including manganese, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.  Four tablespoons of maple syrup have the same antioxidant value as a banana and have one-third the calories of the same amount of sugar.  Our syrup is organic, with no chemicals or preservatives. 

We enjoy making maple syrup because at the end of a long day of collecting and boiling sap there is a finished product that we can look at and say, “we made this.”  Every year something new is learned and we think about how to increase our production for the coming maple season.  With only 4 to 8 weeks to each season, spring is here before we know it.  We love to add our maple syrup to sweet potatoes, baked salmon, and of course, pancakes and French toast.