Boiling Off: Maple Sugaring in Maine

Boiling Off: Maple Sugaring in Maine

by John Hodgkins

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In 1964 three cousins tapped three thousand sugar maples deep in the Maine woods. They called themselves Jackson Mountain Maple Farm. Boiling Off is the story of making Maine maple syrup commercially in Temple, Maine, for fifty-some years, and how a thirty-year technology revolution beginning in the 1980s changed the face of Maine sugaring forever.

Woven into the story of Jackson Mountain Maple Farm is the history of Maine sugaring beginning in Farmington in 1781, when Stephen Titcomb boiled off the first official pure Maine maple syrup in a cast iron kettle. Boiling Off tracks the evolution of sugaring technology from Titcomb’s kettle to reverse osmosis and heat exchangers; follows sap gathering techniques from buckets and oxen-drawn drays to plastic tubing and vacuum pumps; and records production in Maine from 8,000 gallons of maple syrup in 1985 to 709,000 gallons in 2017. The story describes the subtleties of syrup flavor, how it is properly graded, and the art of making award-winning maple syrup. It also reveals who produces Maine maple syrup, where it is harvested, and how L. L. Bean first came to stock it on their shelves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608936854
Publisher: Down East Books
Publication date: 02/01/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

John Hodgkins has boiled off maple syrup commercially in the Maine woods for more than fifty years. He has served two terms as president of the Maine Maple Producers Association and has won numerous awards and ribbons for his syrup, including Best of Show in a statewide contest and third-place ribbon in an international contest. He has been interviewed on radio and television and spoken to civic groups about maple syrup. His writing has been published in Maine Times, Library Journal, Down East Magazine, and Discover Maine. He is the author of A Soldier's Son: An American Boyhood During World War II (Down East Books, 2006). He lives in Yarmouth and Temple, Maine.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 1781 Plantation Number One 7

Chapter 2 Sugar Maples 11

Chapter 3 A List of Necessaries 19

Chapter 4 Time Comes to Tap Trees 25

Chapter 5 Boiling Off 31

Chapter 6 Freezing Nights and Freezing Days 39

Chapter 7 Day Mountain Road 47

Chapter 8 The Secret Is Hidden in the Leaves 55

Chapter 9 Bacteria 61

Chapter 10 A Sugar Maple Town 67

Chapter 11 We Own a Farm 73

Chapter 12 Orchard Hill Road 79

Chapter 13 Paraformaldehyde 83

Chapter 14 Plastic Tubing Rescues Maine's Maple Syrup Industry 89

Chapter 15 "Your Syrup Sells Great" 95

Chapter 16 The Maine Maple Producers Association 105

Chapter 17 The Maine Maple Sugar District 113

Chapter 18 Change Comes to Orchard Hill 119

Chapter 19 The North American Maple Syrup Council 125

Chapter 20 The Coming of the Third Millennium 129

Chapter 21 Bacteria Wars 139

Chapter 22 Hydrometers, Hydrotherms, and Wooden Chips 149

Chapter 23 Maine Maple Sunday 155

Chapter 24 Maine Maple beyond Pancakes 163

Chapter 25 Grading Maple Syrup 165

Chapter 26 The Revolution 175

Chapter 27 Somerset County 187

Chapter 28 Full of Hope 199

Chapter 29 Champions 209

Sources 213

About the Author 215

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

The consummate book about the history, people, and technology involved in producing maple syrup in Maine. . . . a captivating story of the development and advancement of an iconic Maine agricultural industry.

—Kathryn Hopkins, International Maple Syrup Institute Board of Directors and recipient of IMSI Golden Maple Leaf Award for excellence.

A great read for anyone wanting to learn more about maple sugaring in Maine.

—Lyle Merrifield, president Maine Maple Producers Association.

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