I travel to Hopkinsville, Kentucky quite often, the route I take is a route less traveled and is quite scenic. On a trip last Thursday I discovered many trees in a front yard which were tapped to harvest the sap. Can you guess what kind of trees? Sugar maples of course! I had to make a special trip out there this week just to snap some pictures.
I have heard the sap from Acer saccharum, aka Sugar Maple, NOT to be confused with Acer saccharinum, aka Silver Maple, is not harvested all that much down here in the south. Something to do with not enough cold hours in order to make the sap really run to make harvesting the sap worthwhile. Not so for this family. They harvest the sap, boil it down and sell it. As you can see from the pictures, there are quite a few trees with at least three bags per tree, so perhaps we do have enough cold to make harvest sugar maple sap worthwhile.
Sugar maples are beautiful trees which do not grow well in the deep south, but they do grow fine here. Oftentimes you will find sugar maples growing around old farmsteads. They are SO beautiful in the fall when they turn their brilliant golds and auburns. I always think of them as sheltering the farmstead they surround and love taking pictures of them in the fall. Something about an old maple, so big and strong and protective makes me feel happy and I always think about the homeowners who planted these trees dozens of years ago. Their legacy lives on in these beautiful trees, it really does.
As you can see from the pictures, these particular trees are donating a great deal of sap to their owner's cause. I think I will have to take that path less traveled back to Hopkinsville and stop again to purchase some sweet, sugary syrup once it is fully processed and ready for sale. I am not sure when that will be but will check frequently.
In Maine, my home state, tapping sugar maples is a rite of early spring. I am used to buckets being used up there but it appears as though the plastic bags work just fine too. So, I ask you, when we see sugar maples tapped for sap down here in the south, can that mean spring is right around the corner waiting to turn that corner and grace us with its presence?!
in the garden....