Making maple syrup at Chandler’s Sugar Shack

It started out as a few hundred taps in 2006 and has grown to 3,000 taps this year. The small, inefficient evaporator in a small sugar shack has been replaced by a huge, efficient, state of the art evaporator in a beautiful building I thought was going to be someone’s home as it was being built.

Bob and Marge Chandler retired to what might have been a quieter life. Sons Bobby and Bart, and Bart’s wife Jamie, and now a third generation with the birth of Bart and Jamie’s daughter, are keeping Bob and Marge busy.

Chandler’s Sugar Shack, Rt 6, Kossuth

It starts here at the tree with a tap and the tubing that brings the sap to the pump house. The Chandlers use a vacuum pump to speed up the process.

Sap is collected in stainless steel holding tanks in pump houses.

Raw sap is held in tanks before going through reverse osmosis to remove a portion of the water from the sap.

The sap is transported to the evaporator to go through reverse osmosis before being drawn to the evaporator through more tubing.

Reverse osmosis.

This is where the size of the operation becomes most visible. It’s hard to picture 3,000 tapped trees. There are miles of tubing involved in the process. Tanks are huge. Reverse osmosis takes place in a small piece of equipment. And then, the sap moves into the huge evaporator.

The firebox is at the end of the evaporator, on the right. It’s filled every 45 to 60 minutes. Sap temperature is monitored on a display on the wall to the right. When the sap hits 218* and is 67% sugar, it’s automatically drawn off into the barrel on the right. Before bottling, the syrup is filtered through the machine on the left. It’s a series of filters that remove the fine sand (minerals) from the syrup.

You can learn more about Chandler’s Sugar Shack on their website.

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.