Sugarmaker Profiles

  •  Jonathan Finney of Jackson, N.Y. boils on his outdoor set-up on March 23. He expected to make 80 gallons on the rig this season and loving every second of it.

  •  Finney fires his cinder-block arch. It gets kinda messy with the blowback. He does not turn the blower off when he fires so as not to lose the boil.

  •  Draw offs can get a little hairy. Finding the right density is not easy on the outdoor set up. Finney finishes his syrup on a propane canner in the barn.

Outdoor boiler is the envy of the neighborhood


Jonathan Finney of Jackson, N.Y. loves the outdoors in general, but especially for boiling.

Finney is one of a handful of sugarmakers who like to boil exposed to the elements, with no sugarhouse or roof cover.

The Maple News visited Finney and his homemade outdoor set-up on March 25, during a five-day run that kept him boiling every day from dawn to dusk.  

“I love being out in the elements,” he said.  “Either the sun is shining on you or it’s snowing on you.  There’s just something about it.”  

His custom made pan and cinder block arch is remarkably efficient, churning through 350 gallons of sap in a day, he said.  

He expected to make about 75 gals. of syrup this season off his 500 taps, all on gravity or buckets around town. And all of it boiled outside. 

He installed a homemade blower this season to make the pace go a little faster.

Finney is the envy of other local sugarmakers who reminisce about their early days in the backyard.  

He says he won’t likely ever build a sugarhouse.  

“Roofs are overrated,” he said.