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CNN Today

Sweet Season: The Sap is Running as Vermont Harvests Maple Syrup the Old Way

Aired March 10, 2000 - 1:25 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Spring is coming, the birds are chirping and the sap is running.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And in Vermont, the maple syrup season has begun. And for some farmers, the old ways are still the best.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE HOWRIGAN, MAPLE SYRUP FARMER: Yes, that's one part of it that hasn't changed too much. Still using the horses and buckets like they did a couple of generations ago. Well, I guess we still do some things kind of old-fashioned up here, at least on this hill.

Basically, we're taking sap from the trees. We've got about probably 12,000 buckets hung right now, and it takes us two days to empty them.

Start (OFF-MIKE) around the first of March. We hope it's going to last six weeks, at least, or seven. It's totally dependent on the weather.

So, the sap that we're getting today is probably 98 percent water, so we'll run it down to the sugar house, and we let gravity do some of the work for us.

JOHN HOWRIGAN, MAPLE SYRUP FARMER: Sap flow is constantly coming in. We're boiling off the water and getting our finished product. You won't get anything over there; that's just raw sap over there. But you see, it's constantly getting cooked down and concentrated and thicker, so when it reaches here that's your syrup.

It takes 40 gallon of raw sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. You're not doing it necessarily for the money, we're doing it for the labor of love. The reward isn't that great; it's got to be in your blood to enjoy doing sugaring. We look forward to it every year.

L. HOWRIGAN: You have to like doing it, you have to like working in the woods, you have to like working with the horses to do -- still do it this way.

To me, I like living in Vermont. I like what I'm doing. When I go to work in the morning, I head to the woods, not, you know, an hour in a car, so I like that side of it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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