We have always thought maple syrup was a pretty cool parting gift. But many may not know why we think it is so cool! Jolynn gives you a glimpse into the maple syrup legacy that is being made here at Arch:
I’m Ed’s oldest daughter Jolynn, and I think it’s time to tell you all a story that’s long overdue. If you’ve ever wondered why you received a jar of maple syrup from us or what correlation it has with Arch Electric, here’s your answer! Together Ed & Mindy also run Arch Sustainability, the sister company to Arch Electric. In the spring, they harvest sap and produce maple syrup.
It all started with a desire from God and a simple question.
The desire: More family time
The question: How many maple trees were in his dads’ 19-acre woods.
On Thanksgiving Day of 2011, Ed asked his dad, (Who we will refer to as ‘Grandpa’ throughout the rest of the story) how many maple trees he thought were out in the woods. Grandpa said, “oh, I think there’s probably about 7-8 trees out there.” But once they started scouting, there were scores more.
With 120 trees tapped, we started making maple syrup in the spring of 2012. After a lot of learning and hard work, the yield was 18 gallons of maple syrup, and man we were proud! Over the years the operation matured, and, in the fall of 2013, we built a 16’x30’ Sugar Shack from trees harvested right off our land. Each year the process becomes more streamlined. In 2018 we added a reverse osmosis machine, which draws moisture out of the sap to speed up the cooking process. Our cooks used to take around six hrs. and now it takes about three. In 2019 we added a vacuum pump to really optimize the amount of sap being collected and a shiny new larger evaporator. A little fun fact for our geekier friends out there, in 2012, we would yield about .15 gal. of syrup (not sap) per tap we had in. That has since tripled, and we now get .47 gal. of syrup per tap! In the 2019 season, we had 517 taps in, and 272 gallons of syrup bottled. The 2020 season Ed had the same amount of taps in and totaled over 180 gallons of finished syrup as well as two fresh bourbon barrels that we aged syrup in.
Ed doesn’t do it for the money, although there is some financial benefit to it. The biggest reason he does it is for his family. He does it so that his kids get an abundant opportunity to grow up and learn from their grandpa, and so grandpa can build a deep relationship with each of the grandkids and great-grandchildren by spending time with them, working side by side in the woods.
Why have you gotten syrup? Simply because Ed loves to give it away. He says “it’s a fun bargaining tool, and people love it. It seems that no one just goes out to the store and buys real maple syrup, but if it’s given to them as a gift, they get really excited. I haven’t met too many people that don’t like it.”
Ed has spent roughly 600hrs in the sugarbush during 2019 as well as the 2020 season. Not adding in time from family and the abundant number of friends that come out and help. Ed is excited and preparations for the 2021 syrup season are well underway. So, the next time you receive a bottle of syrup from the Zinthefers or Arch Electric, know that it is made with love and sent with the best wishes.
This post was written by archelect