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It's Maple Syrup Time At Greenwich Land Trust Site

Steve Conaway passes out cups of sap that have been boiled. The sap tastes like sugar water and has to be boiled longer in order to become maple syrup.
Steve Conaway passes out cups of sap that have been boiled. The sap tastes like sugar water and has to be boiled longer in order to become maple syrup. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
A maple sap bucket at the ready.
A maple sap bucket at the ready. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Steve Conaway shows the preferred spot to tap a maple tree.
Steve Conaway shows the preferred spot to tap a maple tree. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Steve Conaway, conservation and outreach director, shows how a tree's branches spread out for the sun.
Steve Conaway, conservation and outreach director, shows how a tree's branches spread out for the sun. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
A spile is hammered lightly into a tree to start collecting maple syrup.
A spile is hammered lightly into a tree to start collecting maple syrup. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
A drop of sap at the tip of a spile.
A drop of sap at the tip of a spile. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Sap being boiled into maple syrup.
Sap being boiled into maple syrup. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Steve Conaway takes a sip of sap from a Greenwich maple tree that has been boiled and cracks a joke.

"This is my energy drink," Conaway said with a laugh about the drink, which tasted like sugar water. The sap has to be boiled longer in order to turn it into maple syrup.

Conaway, conservation and outreach director at the Greenwich Land Trust, led a maple-tapping event at the trust's American Chestnut Sanctuary on Burning Tree Road in Greenwich.

About a dozen people joined Conaway and other land trust staff at the recent event. He showed how maple trees are tapped and how the sap is collected in a pail. Sap was boiled on-site to give anyone who wanted it a taste of the sweet drink.

The preferred side to tap is the south side of the tree, which faces the sun, with the spile at a slight downward angle in order for the sap to drip into the bucket, he said.

Older spiles, made of either cast iron or galvanized steel, are very thick and can be used year after year, he said. Despite modern technology, Conaway said the process used today would have been very familiar to people a century ago.

"Technology hasn't changed that much," Conaway said as he pointed to the spile and the bucket where the sap is collected.

Most of the world's maple syrup is produced in Canada with the province of Quebec dominating the industry and supplying about 75 percent of the maple syrup in the world.

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