Maple Fest was first introduced to Bellcate at the start of spring. This is a celebration of the changing of the seasons when all of the Bellcate community comes together to make delicious treats. Dave, the leader of the crew, gathers all the maple sap from his thousands of trees, and his hard-working Ravenscroft team helps him.
We also make cider donuts from a secret recipe of ingredients ranging from apple sauce to specially made flour. The ingredients are mixed together to make donuts. Josh works hard to make a cinder block box in the parking lot and lights a fire in it to then put an evaporator on top.
This evaporator is a device used for making syrup using heat from below; it evaporates the water from the sap and slowly concentrates the sugars. The device has three channels of sap that boil from the heat that comes from below, and these channels are fed from a small metal trough at the top. Dave is a good mechanic, so he knows what to do if something goes wrong in the sugar house, and he helps the crew make superior products. Teachers and students were able to come outside and see our project as we boiled down the sap. We showed our guests how it all works and offered maple syrup tasting and pickles to cleanse the pallet! Now, the way you tell if the sap has turned to syrup is challenging because if syrup is hot from evaporating its consistency is the same as the sap, and hard to tell the two apart. When you pour hot syrup on pancakes it flows out of the bottle easier, it’s the same when sugaring, so you use a bobber-like device to help take the temperature of the liquid as you work with it. If the bobber floats then its syrup, but if not its sap. My job was to fan the smoke away from our guests’ eyes with a piece of cardboard. We served some donuts and some pre-made maple glaze and enjoyed delicious maple glazed donuts with everything made from scratch! They were super good. Now that you know all of this maybe you can appreciate how much work goes into a single bottle of maple syrup! Dave has his own sugar woods and own setup separate from the school, but since he also works at Bellcate its very easy to apply to work on his crew and gain job skills along the way, and help host very cool events just like this one all year round!
Written by: Jay