PURE NEW YORK MAPLE SYRUP
MILL HOLLOW MAPLE IS A MAPLE FARM LOCATED IN THE HEART OF THE BUTTERNUT VALLEY IN OTSEGO COUNTY NEW YORK. HUSBAND AND WIFE, BRIAN RYTHER AND AMY MCKINNON PRODUCE AWARD WINNING MAPLE SYRUP, MAPLE CREAM, MAPLE SUGAR AND MAPLE CANDY.
SAP AND THEREFORE SYRUP IS A PRODUCT DERIVED FROM NATURE SO THERE EXISTS VARIATION ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS. NO TWO BATCHES WILL BE THE SAME. EACH SAMPLE JAR REPRESENTS THE SYRUP THAT WAS MADE THAT DAY AND CORRESPONDS WITH A PARTICULAR BARREL. SEEING, SMELLING AND TASTING EACH SAMPLE ALLOWS US TO HAVE THE CONFIDENCE THAT WE ARE SELLING THE ABSOLUTE BEST MAPLE SYRUP TO YOU.
FROM THE TAP TO THE JUG
Maple Syrup is a way of life for some people but for most it is a complete mystery. Maple syrup can really only be produced from this small region of the world, it is an area that covers Southeast Canada and extends as far south as Northern Pennsylvania and from the Atlantic Ocean west to about Indiana.
While maple trees are pretty ubiquitous the cold climate of this region causes the trees to store starch in their trunks and roots for the winter. When the temperatures begin to rise in the late winter to early spring, the starch is then converted to sugar. As the tree thaws out the sap drips from the tree out of the tap. When sap comes from the tree it looks like water and has a sugar level of about 1-2%. The sap will continue to flow as long as it is above freezing and other conditions are ideal. The maple season ends when the buds on the tree pop and the leaves begin to emerge.
A hole is drilled in the maple tree and a spile is tapped into the hole and is connected to tubing that carries the sap from the tree to a holding tank. The forest, now called a sugar bush, looks like a vast spider's web of tubing. All of this tubing is under vacuum. The flow of sap is very dependent on weather beyond just above freezing temperatures.
The suction from a vacuum mimics that of a low pressure system which encourages sap release. Once in the storage tank the sap is collected and brought to our sugar house via an old fire truck with a 1,500 gallon stainless steel tank. At the sugarhouse the sap is run through reverse osmosis. This takes the sugar content of the sap from 1-2% up to about 15% by removing water. The water by-product is used for cleaning.
Once at 15% sugar we boil the sap in an evaporator. The evaporator has three sections, the back flu pan, the front finishing pan and the fire box. The concentrated sap starts in the back pan and is boiled over a pan that is shaped like an accordion for maximum surface area, it then progresses through to the front pan which has a serpentine shape and snakes its way to the draw off. Our evaporator is fired to about 950F using felled wood from our property. The maintenance of that temperature is integral to a continuous flow of syrup. We fire about every 3-5 minutes and burn upwards of 70 cord of wood per maple season. Syrup is 66% sugar and we determine that with the help of a thermometer and a hydrometer. The hot syrup pours into a draw off tank and is then filtered and packed hot into 40 gallon stainless steel barrels, labeled, dated and reopened as we need it.
The sugar makers
The two of us, Brian Ryther and Amy McKinnon, solely run every aspect of Mill Hollow Maple. Together we set up infrastructure, tap 6000 trees, haul and process sap into maple syrup. Once the maple syrup is made we bottle, brand and market the syrup. From the syrup we make maple candy, maple sugar and maple cream. We make our own signage, website and design all the packaging. Oh yeah, we also split all the wood we use to fire the evaporator. You can find all of our products through our website, farmers' markets and retailers. We have a great source of pride in the hailed restaurants and businesses that rely on the consistently high quality and year round availability of Mill Hollow Maple. We look forward to being your source for maple.