Photographer's Note

The sweet sap of the sugar MAPLE (Acer saccharum) was known and valued by the native peoples of eastern North America long before the arrival of European settlers. French settlers learned from the Indians how to tap trees to obtain sap and how to boil it to reduce it to sweet syrup or sugar slabs to be stored for later use.

In the fall, the sugar maple lays down concentrated sugars in the rays of the tree; these sugars mature during winter and are harvested while the frost is still in the ground. The sap flow is stimulated in spring as the days become warmer and temperatures rise above 0°C during daylight, followed by below-freezing nights. Within the tree, positive pressures produce a natural flow of sap that is tapped by boring holes into the tree. The clear sap rushes out of these holes and into the collection system.

Once the maple sap is collected, it is evaporated into syrup. The dilute raw material is reduced to remove excess water; nothing is added. It takes approximately 30-45 L of maple sap to produce 1 L of pure maple syrup.

During the maple harvest, the tree will give up about 7% of its sap; tests confirm that this does no long-term damage to the tree. Many of the tapped trees are well over 100 years old.

There are about 16 000 maple-syrup producers in North America with over 80% in Canada. The province of Québec represents over 90% of the total Canadian production.
Over 70% of Canadian production of maple products is exported. The most important market is the US, with 77% of total exports. Other principal buyers of Canadian maple products are European countries, Japan and Australia (Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia).

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Additional Photos by Maria do Carmo Vieira Montfils (Docarmo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2915 W: 313 N: 4253] (9767)
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