- Paula Jordan
The 2021 Somerville Community Maple Syrup Project!
For over 20 years the Growing Center has been doing an educational community maple boil. Making maple syrup from sap collected from maple trees in Somerville. This year, we had nine taps on the hillside of the Tufts campus, in view of the Boston skyline.
We started tapping early in February and had our boil on Feb 28th. It takes 30-40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. With the help of volunteers we produced about 1.5 gallons. That syrup will be gifted to some of our maple volunteers, preschool partners and used in our fundraising events.
This year, due to Covid, we could not have a public boil, but were able to invite small school groups to visit. Several preschool groups, a learning pod and a YMCA class of remote learners visited to learn about and see the process. Claire O’Neill from EarthWise Aware did an educational talk for volunteers on winter phenology and native plants in the garden.
All of this would not be possible without the help and support of all our partners, Groundwork Somerville, Tufts University, Aeronaut Brewery, and Sally O’Brien's, where the sap was finished! We'd also like to thank Bob Shane, who printed about 90 labels for free for us this year to put on our syrup containers.
This season we also connected with an instructor at Tufts University and her Environmental Science class who are providing some greater context to our Maple Syrup project by studying winter phenology, the sugar content of maple sap and trends related to climate change and the impact on the maple syrup process in our region. In addition, a Tufts graduate researcher from the Wolfe Lab in the Department of Biology gathered a gallon of sap as part of a study on microbes in the maple syrup process in Massachusetts.
And to our volunteers, who collected sap, moved a frozen evaporator, advised us on site with setting up, met with school groups, kept the fire going, and finished the boil, Thank you!
You can also watch a short educational video created by Growing Center volunteers about the maple sap-collecting process here!
Site Coordinator/Children in Nature Initiative Coordinator