Loving the Local Trees

Tapping a tree

A brave and hearty crew headed out to learn about our local trees for Tu B’Shvat 5779 in collaboration with Lands Sake Farm in Weston. The holiday gets its name from the date on which it occurs, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat.  The “Tu” in numerical equivalents, is Tet (nine) plus Vav (six), totaling 15. Due to the nature of New England, our celebration took place during Adar, the Hebrew month that hosts the holiday of Purim, when we turn it all upside-down.

As such, we started our afternoon of local trees in the sugar house, tasting the end result, the Maple Syrup, and learning about the evaporator and the boiling down process. A bit of sap collection had already started, and it was frozen in the evaporator.

Next we ventured outside to learn more about the Sugar Maple trees where the sap comes from.

Land’s Sake was founded in 1980 by a small group of agrarian-minded folks who wanted to institutionalize sustainable public land stewardship. A sugar shack was built next to the Middle School in 1973. In 1991, the town-funded Green Power program was merged with Land’s Sake and the farm became the locus for the youth farming program. Over the years, Land’s Sake has grown a lot of vegetables and taught a lot of young people the basics of agriculture, ecology and local history.

As a team, we left the sugar house and headed onto some town land only 10 minutes away to hang more sap collection buckets. We took a truck full!

After determining it’s a sugar maple tree, we drilled holes and and tapped in the spile.

We hung our buckets, and put on their “hats.” Said one participant:

“I thought it was super cool to see sap, that will eventually become maple syrup, flowing out of the trees the moment we tapped the trees, all because it was the right temperature. Also to taste the finished product made from sap from those same trees! A celebration of local trees for sure. “

Did you know MA is the 9th largest maple producing state in the US? Find out more a the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association including where to visit and how to do it yourself.