We started thinking about what we can eat from New England in the different seasons. Summer is the easiest season to eat locally, and that’s when all the vegetables in the garden will be growing and ready to harvest. In fall we harvest vegetables that needed a longer time to grow. In winter we eat grains and foods we can preserve. In spring, as the earth is starting to thaw and wake up, we can look to gain bounty from its systems.
It’s when the days are warm, and the nights are cold that the sap begins to flow. In New England we are blessed with an abundance of Sugar Maple trees. Their leaves are especially vibrant in the fall and their sap is the sweetest. The sap in the sugar maple flows up and down via conductors in it’s outer rings: Xylem and Phloem. The core of the tree is the heartwood, and we don’t want to harm that. During the day, as it warms and gets sunnier, the sap goes from the roots to the leaves. As the temperature drops at night, so does the sap. When we collect sap, we tap this outer layer of the tree, the sapwood. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup!
The class headed outside to try some tree tapping. The most convenient tree for our experiment was an Oak tree, which fit in perfect since it was Adar, and also backwards day at school!