Our main occupation on Two Pigs Farm is sugaring. We have over 4,000 taps, storage tanks, pumps, a vacuum (to draw the sap to the tanks more quickly) and an RO machine (reverse osmosis) and a large 'arch' or evaporator. We hoped to make between 5-600 gallons in the 2011 and 2012 seasons, but it got too warm too fast, and we netted just under 400 gallons both years.
The process is simple enough. Sap has about 2% sugar. It is boiled until the concentration is just right for syrup. That's about it. You can get fancy and use lines instead of buckets, pump the sap down the mountain instead of simply relying on gravity, you can use a reverse osmosis machine to increase the sugar content to 6% or better by eliminating a lot of the water content. This also shortens the boiling time or you can use a fancy filter press and canner if you like. But, at the end of the day, you are boiling the sweet sap and it is done in March, at the end of winter, when neighbors first come out of their houses to get neighborly again. It is the first sign of spring and the sap rises all around.