Maple Math

My family goes through maple syrup like wolverines around a deer carcass. They devour it. I myself don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I’ll dip into the syrup jug maybe once a week if we’re having pancakes on a Saturday morning. But my wife and daughters fiend for the stuff.

So I’m doing a little math to figure how much maple syrup we go through in a year. I’ll use this to inform my production goals for my first sugaring season.

I gave my wife a half gallon of Grade A Fancy on Christmas Day. The seal was broken that day. It’s February 6, 43 days later, and there’s about a half pint of it left. 4 pints make up a half gallon. If you’ll allow me a bit of decimal rounding… that means we burn through approximately one pint of maple syrup every 2 weeks.

1 pint = 2 weeks of syrup satiation

1 gallon = 4 months

3 gallons = 1 full year of maple syrup fulfillment

On average, you need 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. So I’ll need to farm 120 gallons of raw sap to feed my family’s maple addiction for a full 365 days.

Thinking about that number — 120 gallons — it seems doable. But I think that’s because there is no everyday object to help me assimilate that volume. Now, if I think about 5 gallons… that’s easy. I can easily picture a 5-gallon bucket in my mind’s eye. And when I think about collecting 24 5-gallon buckets… that’s no cake walk.

I figure I’ll have a month of good weather when the sap is running. So I’ll need to collect six 5-gallon buckets per week. Dang. That’s a lot.

Looking around my yard, I have at least 12 big, healthy sugar maples I can tap. If they give me an average of 2.5 gallons of sap each per week, I’ll hit my family’s quota.

Can it be done?


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