How many gallons of sap does it take to make one gallon of maple syrup? Any guesses? 5? 10? Think higher. Much higher. (Keep guessing … we’ll fill you in later!)
We recently made the trek to Wohlschlegel’s Maple Farm nestled atop the rolling hills of Naples, N.Y. We couldn’t get enough of this view! Garry and his wife, Bobbi, set up shop here in October 2009, but the story behind this picturesque view goes way back. When Garry was a young boy he remembers snowmobiling to this very point and dreaming about a future here. Many years later, Garry still dreamed about this view, and in 1999 the Wohlschlegels bought the property. Picture perfect!
Garry Wohlschlegel has been working with his father Bruce on maple syrup for 30 years. “That’s what maple is all about,” he says. “It’s a family thing.” After many years working at Kodak, Garry started full-time maple production in 2009, and Bruce is still working with him on the same father-son project they began so many years ago. It’s just a lot bigger now!
Garry and Bobbi are regulars at farmers markets in and around Rochester, including the South Wedge Farmers’ Market and Brighton Farmers’ Market. Bobbi works between Kodak and the farmers’ markets, where there’s always a line for their delicious maple syrup and other tasty maple treats.
The Wohlschlegels have 4,100 maple trees tapped over 40 acres. More than 19 miles of line (!) weave an intricate network that transports sap between the trees. It takes five people just two days to tap all those trees! The sap flows downhill 150 feet to the pump house, where it is pumped back up to the sugarhouse.
In short, once the sap reaches the sugarhouse, it fills a 400 gallon storage tank and undergoes reverse osmosis to concentrate the sap and remove 80% of the water. The sap is then sent through an evaporator, resulting in the finished product: pure maple goodness!
Maple syrup production is entirely unpredictable. When the sap starts flowing in mid-February, the work begins. “Once it starts, you can’t, and certainly don’t want to stop it,” says Garry. “Sometimes there’s so much maple coming in that we work from 9 p.m. to 3 in the morning!” At peak times, the Wohlschlegels produce up to 36 gallons of pure maple syrup per hour.
So just how many gallons of sap does it take to produce one gallon of syrup? 50! We couldn’t believe it either! But it’s a labor of love for Garry, Bobbi, and Bruce. “We work hard to produce a good product for people to enjoy up in the city or wherever across the state,” he says. “We take a lot of pride in pushing out good quality product.”
Look for Wohlschlegel’s products on our shelves this spring!
GIVEAWAY ALERT! Who doesn’t love maple syrup?! Leave a comment on the blog for your chance to win a gift bag with Wohlschlegel’s delicious maple syrup, soft molded maple candy, and maple garlic pepper rub. Tell us what you’d put this delicious maple syrup on! We’ll choose one lucky winner at random. Giveaway closes Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5pm.
Our maple syrup giveaway has now closed, and we’ve notified our lucky winner!
Big thanks to all for your tasty comments!