Sap & Syrup

  •  Sugarmaker Joe Russo of the 450,000-tap Sweet Tree operation in Island Pond, Vt. uses beeswax pellets as an effective organic defoamer.

  •  Sugarmaker Joe Russo has made his own beeswax chips, poured and hardened in a pan, as a defoamer

  •  Sugarmaker Joe Russo pouring beeswax onto trays, which he breaks down into chips and uses as an organic defoamer.

Sugarmaker tip: Best organic defoamer

Vermont sugarmaker swears by beeswax


ISLAND POND, Vt.—Try beeswax.
Probably the biggest change a sugarmaker will have to make once they switch to organic is defoamer use. 
Conventional defoamers do not qualify so the producer must find an all-natural replacement that both knocks down the foam and also does not affect taste. 
Many sugarmakers use sunflower oil or other oils similar.
Sugarmaker Joe Russo who manages the massive 470,000-tap Sweet Tree Inc. operation in Island Pond, Vt. uses beeswax.
“It’s fantastic,” Russo told The Maple News. 
“It’s about flavor," he said.  "The beeswax does not impart negative flavor.  It doesn’t enhance the flavor and it doesn’t detract from it.  In a defoamer that is what everybody wants to achieve.”
Plus, of course, the defoaming part too, which it does effectively, he said.
Russo discovered beeswax as a defoamer years ago, originally using a yellow beeswax, melting it down, letting it harden and then defoaming with the chips.
Now, he can order organic white beeswax in pellet form, which he uses in his high efficiency evaporators where he makes syrup at a 750 gallon per hour clip.