Tools of the Trade

Sugarmakers used to collect sap in wooden buckets like this one.

Sugarmakers used to collect sap in wooden buckets like this one.

While maple is the same as it has always been, over the last seven generations the ways Coombs Family Farms gathers and produces it has changed. The days of slogging through the sugarbush with a team of horses to collect sap from hundreds of individual buckets are no more. Here are some of the tools and technologies that help make collecting and processing sap more efficient and more environmentally sustainable, so that our small farms can remain productive and our forests can thrive.

Health Spouts

Health spout for tapping Maple syrup

Health Spouts are smaller in diameter than traditional spouts.

When it comes to caring for our trees, the little things count! “Health spouts” are smaller than traditional spouts in diameter and make a smaller hole, so the tree heals more quickly. While they also reduce sap flow, we think doing what we can to preserve the health of our trees trumps any desire for a faster ‘sap run.’

Vacuum Tubes

A vacuum tube for collecting Maple sap

Vacuum tube system for collecting maple sap.

By using vacuum tubing instead of traditional buckets, small farmers are able to tap more maple trees with less effort, reduce overhead, and continue farming the land while minimizing impact on fragile root systems from roads and trails. Our forests are healthier, and our rural farming communities are able to thrive.


A small vacuum pulls sap from the spouts into and through the tubing, increasing yield and reducing energy consumption.

Holding Tank

Sap is stored in a holding tank until it is evaporated and converted into pure organic maple syrup and sugar. To ensure the highest quality maple, it is important to evaporate the sap as quickly as possible after collection.

Reverse Osmosis

Arnold Coombs loads the wood-fired "arch" or evaporator.

Arnold Coombs loads the wood-fired “arch” or evaporator.

For many years, we’ve worked hard to save energy, reduce our carbon emissions, and take care of the environment. In fact, we have reduced our carbon footprint by 75% by being the first to use reverse osmosis in the maple industry. Reverse osmosis uses agitation to separate sap from water, drastically reducing the amount of energy required.

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