Welcome to Little Hill Sugarworks. We are a small family-run maple syrup-making operation in Richmond Vermont. We have 10 acres and tap around 100 trees to make our syrup.
How Maple Syrup is Made
- Humans have been making the sap into maple syrup here in North America since before written history.
- In the spring, when the days are warm and the nights are cold, maple sap flows through the trunks of the maple trees. Maple syrup makers, or sugar makers as they’re known, tap into the trees with spiles to allow some of the sap to drip out. It is collected, drip by drip into buckets or through lines in a collection tank.
- Sap has about 2% sugar in it when it comes from the trees. To make it into maple syrup it needs to be boiled until most of the liquid is evaporated. Where does all that other liquid go? Into the air as steam. When the syrup reaches 7.5 degrees above boiling all that is left is sweet maple syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!
- In the 1700s when Native Americans and Colonial settlers were making maple syrup and sugar they used copper and iron kettles to boil the sap. Today maple sugar makers use channeled evaporators which are specifically designed to make the evaporation process happen more quickly. The prototype of these evaporators have existed since the Civil War era.
- Today vacuum pumps, and reverse osmosis have made sap yield and production easier and brought maple syrup to markets that it never could have otherwise.
How Our Maple Syrup is Different
Single Bush. While large scale sugaring operations truck sap from remote sugar bushes and batch process it in large evaporators, we only collect from 150 trees on our 10 acre property. This means less energy is used to gather it and the taste of place is preserved.
Non-RO. What does that mean? RO or Reverse Osmosis is a technology that has been used in maple syrup production since the 1970s and by some accounts much earlier than that. This process takes sap, which naturally has about a 2% sugar content, and concentrates it to 12% to 15% or higher. While reverse osmosis makes the process of boiling sap into maple syrup more efficient, critics believe it strips the maple syrup of more nuanced flavor characteristics and terroir. Because we process sap from a relatively small amount of trees, we are able to process it all without the use of RO.
Gravity Fed and Vacuum Pump. As our name implies, we are located on a little hill and this being the case we are able to use gravity to our advantage. In 2017 we first employed the use of sap tubing with a natural siphon. Since then we have upgraded the system to bring the sap to a collection tank using a combination of a vacuum pump and gravity-fed lines. Using tubing and this type of naturally pressurized system does not harm the maple trees, yet it does help to increase sap yields.
Wood Fired. Our evaporator is fueled by hardwood which Jason harvests from our forest. Most evaporators today are oil-fired. Wood heat is carbon neutral which is better for the environment. We carefully monitor each batch of syrup that we make.
About Our Syrup
- We sell only sell glass quart bottles of our syrup.
- All of our syrup is filtered multiple times, including through a filter press which provided maximum clarity.
- It is available in three grades: Grade A Golden: Delicate Taste,Grade A Amber: Rich Taste and Grade A Dark: Robust Taste. Read more about which grades are right for which recipes here.
- We hand bottle and package every single bottle in custom-printed glass Boston round bottles.
- Once open, keep your pure maple syrup refrigerated.
- Maple syrup can be frozen for up to a year.