The process starts with drilling a tap hole into a maple tree. A spout is inserted to direct the sap to either a bucket or into tubing that sends the sap to a large collection tank at the sugar house or a central collection area using a vacuum pump.
From the storage tanks, the sap is often put through a reverse osmosis machine, which takes a percentage of the water from the sap before boiling. The evaporation process sends clouds of sweet maple scented steam billowing in the air. An evaporator is where the boiling takes place. Stainless steel pans sit atop an arch, or firebox, where wood creates an intense fire. As the water in the sap evaporates, the sap thickens.
When the thermometer in the pan reaches 219 degrees the syrup is ready to draw off.