The Mitman Family...
In 1990, we bought 68 acres of wooded land in Strong, Maine. We climbed a large beech tree to make sure that the land had a view of the mountains. Soon afterward, we bought a 1963 pink and white trailer for $500, dragged it onto the land and called it home. That first spring, we began producing maple syrup. Collecting the sap with plastic milk jugs and boiling it over a cement block evaporator in the middle of the driveway, we began a journey that was the birth of Maine Sugarworks. Our children, Quincy and Ivy join us in our maple syrup passion.
Stephan operating our first evaporator back in 1991.
We left the milk jugs behind and purchased some used sap buckets and lids. Each year the the evaporator required more cement blocks and bigger pans until finally, Stephan decided it was time to build a real arch out of a 270 gallon oil barrel, and other things. We transformed our woodshed into the sap house. Eventually we built an addition for the firewood and a second addition for a tank room to store the sap.
Each year, we have made improvements. We did a combination of sap buckets and pipeline while the children were able to help. Once they hit high school, we shifted to all pipeline. Five years ago, we purchased a vacuum system that allows us to capture more sap from the trees (without harming the them). Our most recent improvement is the addition of a reverse osmosis system (the machine that goes ping). It has cut down the time it takes us to boil the sap significantly.