In St. Johnsbury, Vermont, this farm boils sap from maple trees into pure maple syrup. It takes up to fifty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
We visited the maple museum there, with dividing tables and a video showing the steps that sap goes through before it becomes syrup. A guide there told me that last winter, her husband worked in waist-deep snow tapping trees. Apparently, one day of sunshine is all it takes to get the sap running. It runs best when there are cold, sunny days and freezing temperatures at night. Once it is warm enough for the trees to start budding, the sap stops running.
After visiting the museum, I understand better why maple syrup is so expensive at the store. If you live in the South, having real syrup is a treat reserved for special occasions.
I may have brought a little bit home with me.