Buck­ets or Plas­tic Tub­ing

Modern Pioneer - - Maple -

I re­mem­ber a time here in north­ern New Eng­land when gal­va­nized buck­ets hang­ing from maple trees was a com­mon sight. It was one of those rites of spring, just like see­ing the first robin or the first geese fly­ing north.

Times have changed. Though you’ll still see some buck­ets, those buck­ets have been re­placed by miles and miles of plas­tic tub­ing. Why? Be­cause maple su­gar­ing is a huge busi­ness, and it’s far more ef­fi­cient and cost ef­fec­tive to trans­port the sap from the trees di­rectly to the sugar shack us­ing tub­ing than it is to send peo­ple out to col­lect sap from buck­ets.

While this tub­ing, and the pumps that push the sap through the miles of lines, may be good for busi­ness, is it good for the trees? There are peo­ple who come down on either side of the de­bate, and the verdict is still out. For now, I’ll con­tinue do­ing things the tra­di­tional way.

(above) Rather than buy sap buck­ets at $19 each, the au­thor used plas­tic milk and wa­ter jugs to catch sap. PHOTO BY DANA BENNER

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