Each spring, Skye Chalmers and his wife Tina Hartell harvest sap from 2,500 maple trees on the southern slope of Markham Mountain (also known as Bobo’s Mountain) in Weston, Vermont. The Bobo’s team burns local wood, cut from their land or from their neighbors’ land, to boil down the sap into incredible, sticky-sweet syrup. Sap starts at 1.5-2% sugar; by the time the boiling’s done, the syrup’s concentrated to about 66% sugar. With sap sugar content on the lower end, it takes about 55 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. Bobo’s ends up being a single-source syrup of sorts, a true taste of one sugarbush – the soil, its mineral content, the water, everything contributes to the final taste.
You might not know this, but sugaring (the process of collecting sap and making syrup) is a two-season ordeal. Bobo’s taps trees and sets up lines in the deep winter of February. The first boils start in the mild chill of March, and by April the whole operation is warm and bustling.