FOLK SCHOOL EVENTS
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If Honey is the nectar of the gods, Maple Syrup is the nectar of the Homesteader. It’s long been a rural staple that was cheaper to produce than to purchase sugar.
The act of “sugaring” was taught to European settlers by the Native Americans in the Northeast part of North America. We don’t know how long people have been cooking down maple sap to make the delicious syrup but we know it’s been for hundreds of years.
Our maple syrup producing journey started the year we purchased our farm. Maria’s father has produced maple syrup for almost his entire life. Maria remembers growing up with her dad smelling of sweetness when he would come in from a day working with the sap.
Many people believe that maple syrup is produced in the fall but it’s actually in early spring. One of the reasons we love it so much is because it occurs just as winter is breaking. Spring is around the corner and new life is about to burst onto the scene. We spend the time walking in the woods, often when there is still snow on the ground. The creek is usually running swiftly as the snow melt has added to its volume. It’s extremely peaceful.
A good rule of thumb for sap days is when temps get up to 40 degrees or more and nights that go below freezing. The warming sends sap up the tree and the freezing sends it back down to the roots. When we are harvesting the sap, we are catching it on its way up the tree.
Producing maple syrup in small batches like we do is a true labor of love. It takes 40 gallons, yes 40 gallons of sap to produce just one gallon of delicious maple syrup. We cook ours down entirely over a wood fire outside.
So come sometime in February or March as the days start reaching 40 degrees, you'll find us in the woods, grounding ourselves with nature, smelling the spring air, listening to the creek flow and thanking the Earth and the Maple trees for all their bounty!