Reverse Osmosis

Maple Syrup R.O. Campaign

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Promoting Environmental Stewardship

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Appeal Complete! Reverse Osmosis for Maple Syrup:

Dylan Zeitlyn, the manager of Maple Syrup production each spring, has implemented funds raised to purchase a Reverse Osmosis Machine.

Reverse Osmosis is a way to remove water from maple sap using semi-permeable membranes that allow water through, but not the sap. To remove the water, the reverse osmosis machine uses less than 1% the amount of energy as the burning of wood. In a typical season, we will emit 98,000 fewer lbs. of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (This is equal to the annual carbon footprint of 2.2 average Americans).

The increased efficiency has not affected the quality of the wood fired syrup but provided the farm with a much needed increase in profits.  It also greatly reduced the impact on the environment.  This is a very direct way to help us to keep the farm sustainable.

Eliminating Fossil Fuel Use in the Maple Sugaring Operation

The sugaring operation at Spring Hills Farm has made great strides toward energy efficiency and away from fossil fuel use. We used to have taps in several locations that required driving to pick up sap. Now, all our taps gravity feed into one tank in our woods. We only need to walk to the woods and start the pump that takes the sap to the sugarhouse. This saves fuel and also the need for a truck. We used to boil raw sap. We could make about 30 gallons of syrup by burning a cord of wood. Now, we concentrate the sap with a reverse osmosis machine, and we can make 120 gallons with one cord of wood. This saves countless hours and many cords of wood each year. The sugarhouse uses a substantial amount of electricity. We now produce that electricity ourselves with a solar array.

We have had discussions about how to eliminate the rest of the fossil fuel use from the operation. The remaining areas to address are the approximately 50 gallons of propane we use in the canning process, the 20 gallons of gasoline we use in the woods pump per season, and the 10 gallons of diesel fuel we use in the tractor during setup and cleanup. We identified the propane use in the canning room as the low-hanging fruit that had an easy, if somewhat costly, fix, a $2400 canning pan heated with electricity. No sooner had the discussion begun, than a donation was offered for this improvement. The next steps are to problem solve how to eliminate the remaining small fossil fuel use, and we will be able to have a fossil fuel free operation.

We are thankful to you who love the farm who donated or pledged a gift. Please consider continuing your recurring monthly donation to our organic farm.

For our detailed reverse osmosis proposal please click here.

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