Groundwork Somerville, with the help of 30 adults and at least 25 youth, successfully hung 20 buckets on 10 Sugar Maple trees this past Thursday. Despite temperatures just barely below freezing the night before, sap ran out of the holes as soon as they were drilled. Participants got to help with the tapping of the trees, taste the fresh sap, and enjoy some outdoor time on the sloping grassy slope between Tuft’s academic quad and the intersection of Boston and College Aves.
We measured the trees’ circumferences to determine the right number of buckets to hang, placed holes well away from past year’s scars, hammered in the spiles (taps), and hung buckets on hooks. The final step, putting the tops on the buckets, will prevent bark, leaves, or rain from falling into the buckets as they collect sap. Maple sap runs when temperatures go below freezing at night and rise above freezing during the day. Once trees start to bud, the flavor of the sap will become more bitter, and we will pull out the spiles and clean our equiptment. The tree then heals itself quickly. This year’s season is much earlier than usual, so we are not sure how long the sap will run.
All sap is stored in frozen and refrigerated storage until the Boil Down Festival on March 3rd at the Somerville Community Growing Center. Public are then invited back out to see the sap boil down into pure maple syrup! Keep an eye on Groundwork Somerville’s website, online calendar, facebook page, or twitter feed to get updates and news about the Somerville Maple Syrup Project. Maple tapping would not be possible without the support of Tufts Buildings and Grounds – thanks!
Photographs taken by Groundwork Somerville Staff on 1/26/2012 can be viewed on this Picasa Album.