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Kurt Upham’s Maple Sap Evaporator

ohDEER is the leader in all natural deer, mosquito, and tick control.

We launched in 2007, and are now in our second decade in business.  In 2013, we began our franchise enterprise.

ohDEER has known good fortune, and is rapidly growing, meeting the need of a society looking for all natural ways to stay healthy and protect their families, and their property, without use of harsh chemicals and toxins.

One of Kurt’s Maple Sap Taps

Our corporate office is in Wayland, MA.  Out of this office we service Metropolitan Boston West and Boston proper.

Our franchise network has nine franchisee businesses, with this network providing service across a geographic reach that takes in Eastern Massachusetts; Cape Cod and the Islands; New York’s Long Island; and New Jersey.

Co-founders and co-owners of ohDEER, the husband and wife team of Kurt and Colleen Upham, are nature lovers and outdoorspeople – which is a primary inspiration and motivator behind the business they run.

One way that Kurt Upham stays connected to nature and the outdoors is through is hobby of making maple syrup.

In the U.S. Northeast and in Canada, maple syrup season, also called maple sugaring season, runs annually from about late February through late March.  For it is in this stretch of the calendar that the weather is most hospitable – with nights of temps in the 20s °F range, and days of temps around 40 °F – to the flow in maple trees of the sap which is collected and transformed into maple syrup and maple sugar.

For an interesting read about the natural movement of maple sap, please click here to be taken to a story, “The Science Behind Why Maple Sap Flows”, written by Bob Beyfuss, and published at HudsonValley360.

This is the third year that Kurt Upham has been a maple sap harvester and maple syrup maker.

“I made syrup in 2015 and 2016, but took last year off because I had broken my knee,” said Kurt. “I enjoy making syrup, and I like that in making syrup I educate my daughters on how a food is brought from nature to the table, with this lesson helping them develop an appreciation for nature and the food that nature produces.

“Pure homemade maple syrup is delicious, and is good for you, including providing heart and cardiovascular and immune-boosting benefits.”

This year, Kurt collected sap from mid-February through the March 24.

To collect the sap, Kurt, using a drill bit that is 5/16th of an inch in diameter, bores a canal 2 ½ inches long, at a slightly upward angle, into the tree.  Kurt then inserts into the canal a stainless-steel tap, called a spile, to which he connects a plastic tube that runs into a 5-gallon bucket.

For the 2018 maple syrup production, Kurt inserted 13 taps across 10 trees.

“My neighbors are great, for all the trees I tap are in their yards, and they give me permission to do so.  Of course, in gratitude I share with my neighbors the finished product.”

Kurt and Colleen’s daughters participate in gathering the maple sap.

Kurt has added to his maple-syrup-making equipment and technology.

“This year, for the first time, I used an evaporator, which I bought, to boil down the sap to syrup. Using the evaporator to boil off the water from the sap is far more efficient than the method I used in the past, of sitting a pan over the propane-generated flame in a turkey fryer.  Using the evaporator, I can boil about six to 10 gallons of sap an hour to the point of syrup.   The heat source I use with the evaporator is a wood fire in a pit around which I built a cinder block wall.

“Although I don’t make maple sugar, how that is made is by continuing to heat the syrup until what remains are the maple flavor crystals.  Still, the syrup itself is in the range of 60 percent sugar.”

Kurt Upham purchases his maple syrup equipment from Leader Evaporator, which is based in Swanton, VT, sells direct and through distributors, and has been in the maple syrup business since 1888.

Kurt explained that it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup, and that the 10 trees he tapped rendered 110 gallons of sap.  Kurt and Colleen’s daughters participate in the collection of the sap.

“We’re looking at in the neighborhood of two-and-half gallons of syrup.”

Kurt’s Maple Syrup Filtering Station

After boiling the sap down to syrup consistency, Kurt filters the syrup to create a purer product.

“I then heat the syrup to seven degrees above the boiling point of water.  Now that temperature mark varies depending on the altitude of the location of where the heating is taking place.  In Wayland, that temperature is around 200 degrees.”

The final step is Kurt transferring the hot syrup to oxygen barrier bottles which are sealed and set on their side and allowed to cool.

Kurt Upham says that all the effort expended in the making of pure and excellent maple syrup is well worth it.

“Yes, it takes a good amount of work and focus, and attention to detail, making the syrup.  And that all adds to the satisfaction and enjoyment of sharing the syrup with friends and family, and enjoying at our family table.”