Four Saps Sugar House now in operation in Lyndeborough

LYNDEBOROUGH – Ken Begley has found the perfect winter job – making maple syrup.

During the summer, he operates as Green Acres Irrigation, specializing in lawn systems.

“In the winter, we weren’t doing anything,” he said during the open house in Lyndeborough on Maple Weekend held last weekend, from March 21-23. “We took our knowledge of piping and running lines into the orchard.”

The operation, called Four Saps Sugar Shack, actually refers to his children, he said. “I’m the big sap.”

The cold weather that has delayed this year’s sap run worked in his favor, he said.

“We were finishing this house as the sap started running,” Begley said.

A carpenter friend did much of the work with more finishing to do.

The brand new sap house, still smelling of newly milled lumber, as well as maple-scented steam, is on the corner of Center Road and Fredette Drive.

Begley has been in the syrup making business “about eight years as a hobby,” he said. “This year we decided to step it up.”

The sap is collected and stored in 1,000-gallon tank at his previous location by his home, up the hill from the new house, and piped down the hill into brand new evaporating tanks.

His old evaporator has gone to a smaller producer.

Begley has acquired use of the Swartz property on Winn Mountain, he said. Being located higher up, the trees up there “are just waking up, and may extend the season.”

He also collects sap from several maple stands in Mont Vernon.

This year “we are shooting for a thousand gallons,” he said. “So far, we’ve made 50. This could be a record-breaking season,” he added hopefully. “You just never know.”

A handout notes that maple syrup, according to researchers at the University of Rhode Island, contains many antioxidants, has many nutrients including iron, zinc and potassium, is better for the digestion in baked goods than sugar, and contains manganese for strong bones. The syrup produced is a 100 percent pure, unprocessed, natural produce. Enjoy it as syrup, candy or cream on your morning toast.