A Longstanding Family Tradition
For over 30 years the MacRae family has been making fond maple memories in their woodlots located in Upper North River and Nuttby Mountain, Nova Scotia.
In the late winter to early spring everyone helped tap the trees, hang the galvanized buckets and when they were full, gathered the sap in 5 gallon buckets and had wait until we had enough to boil. The sap was poured into the big black cast iron pots and hung over the open fire.
Once the adults got the fire going, they would line all of the grand kids around the kettle and give the oldest ones cans of milk with one hole in the top. We took turns flicking a few drops into the pots to control the sap from boiling over. All the syrup produced had a smoky/charcoal flavour due to it being cooked over the open fire.
Changing With the Times
We now have our own sugar camp where we boil our sap inside in an evaporator instead of using pots outside. We use the modern sap collection process of plastic taps connected to flexible plastic tubing that interlink and are vacuum assisted into our sugar camp. We still fire the evaporator with wood from our woodlot.
MacRae’s Rocky Ridge Maple
MacRae’s Rocky Ridge Maple started for fun with the MacRae’s tapping approximately 30 trees and hanging a few sap buckets at their Nuttby Mountain woodlot to make a little syrup for their own use.
Things grew into a little retirement hobby for Alec and Gayle with a new evaporator and a holding tank for the sap installed in the existing sugar shack. Alec replaced the galvanized buckets and metal taps with enough plastic taps and tubing to tap 400 trees. Every year since he has increased his production by adding more taps and now stands at 1200 taps. For the first 2 years the sap was gravity fed. A vacuum pump system was installed on the third year of production which has tripled the amount of sap collected.