New Producers & Hobbyists
Maple sugaring can be very enjoyable; however, it is labor intensive, especially for the small scale producer or hobbyist because the equipment is smaller. If a hobbyist has access to healthy, tappable sugar maple trees, the first consideration is the ability and time to evaporate the sap to finished syrup. You must be honest with yourself about the amount of time you not only have available but are willing to spend evaporating. The syrup will run when the weather is right, not when it is most suitable to you. You may have numerous good runs during a one or two month sugaring season. Unless you pull the taps early or dump some runs, you will have to process them all. Sap can only be stored for a limited period of time before spoilage. Spoilage occurs faster during good runs because the weather is warm (usually 40 degrees or more). Sap is essentially a light sugar solution that is wonderful microbe food. If you work on a farm, in your own business, or can work your schedule around good runs, then sugaring may be for you. Many dairy producers and farmers are also sugarers because this works well with their schedule.