Thursday, March 14, 2013

Duff's Sugar Camp

Highland County, Virginia 

During the Highland Maple Festival, serveral sugar camps open their doors to visitors who wish to see how maple syrup is produced. Tim Duff and his family operate Duff's Sugar House, the smallest syrup producer in the county. It is a labor of love, and an attempt to preserve traditional methods of sugaring that are nearly lost.

The maple trees are tapped with spiles made of elderberry, the old fashioned way, and the sap or "sugar water" is collected by hand in buckets. The sap is brought to the Sugar House for cooking.

Duff's Sugar House

The sap is cooked for 12 to 14 hours in a wood-fired pan, which requires constant attention.

After being cooked in the pan, the remaining dark liquid is transferred to a sugar kettle for final "finishing." Cooking in the kettle takes another 5 to 6 hours, the syrup is cooled for 24 hours and then is filtered and bottled.

Mr. Duff and his iron sugar kettle, which dates back to 1885


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