In late winter, when sap is running strong from maple trees, you'll find Ryan Browne along with family and friends making maple syrup in the woods on their Rising Sun Farm in western Wisconsin. Their small-scale syrup making operation is a mix of old-fashioned techniques and modern equipment. Advancements in technology have allowed Rising Sun Farm to upgrade from manually collecting sap in hundreds of buckets to collecting sap via hundreds of yards of vacuum tubing. But there are still plenty of things that they do old-school from tending the fire that heats the evaporator to hand bottling and labeling more than 100 gallons of syrup each year. As Browne explains in the video above, their process includes cooking the syrup twice, once from sap to syrup and again to heat it for bottling. This double caramelization results in a wonderfully rich syrup that is not only sweet and caramel-y, but also has notes of marshmallow, butter/butterscotch, and the faintest taste of smoke. We had a great time spending a day with the farm team and volunteers learning more about and documenting their syrup making process. Enjoy the video and our recipes that include maple syrup for adding sweetness to deserts, salads and main dishes.
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