by Carley Newman
Gone are the days of pouring brown tinted corn syrup over your perfectly golden pancakes! Maple syrup season is upon us and our new team of student employees couldn’t be more excited to befriend Ithaca's generous Sugar Maple!
On the first day of class we went to the Sugar Bush and listened to a story of Nanabozho, the Anishinaabe Original Man. He noticed that people of villages became careless and lazy as they sat beneath sugar maples catching thick, sweet syrup on their tongues, taking for granted the gifts of the world. He then took the responsibility of diluting the sap to make 40 gallons produce only 1 gallon of syrup. This lesson of responsibility and gratitude set a foundation for the months to come.
In the beginning of the semester, we were gifted a few days that reached into the 40s, followed by nights dipping below freezing. These conditions are ideal for sap flow through the tree, out of the tap and into our collection buckets.
The trees have provided nearly 9 barrels of delicately sweet sap. Student teams have been working in the lab and among the forest prepping the Sugar Bush. Buy more barrels. Check. Order more jars. Check. Rebuild fire pit. Soon to be check. At this rate we look forward to having our first boil of the season this Thursday, February 22nd!
All of us are so excited to embark on this journey! We get sappy just thinking about it. Hopefully you'll be joining us weekly for more blog updates. Peace and gratitude my fellow forest folks!