Making Maple Syrup in the 21st Century


 1 Across the fields and into the snow

In late February and early March, denizens of the Driftless moved through the woods, from tree to tree preparing for another harvest of sap from the maples nestled in the couleesof the western Wisconsin.  It has become a tradition for maple syrup producers to host maple syrup parties and open houses when the sap starts to run, so we headed out into the wintery weather to join in the fun.  Kickapoo Gold tours begin with a pancake breakfast followed by a horse drawn sleighride to the sugar shack.

2 Sleigh ride to the maple woods

We quickly found that making maple syrup is not done like it used to be done.  Used to be that buckets were hung on trees to collect the sap and they were carried to a wood fired evaporator.  Third generation sugar maker Phil Gudgeon of Kickapoo Gold provided the following photo of the way it was when the sap was cooked down out in the open over a wood fire. The term sugar maker dates back to the days when some or most of the sap was cooked down to make sugar.  Maple sugar.

3 Harvesting in the early Eighties

The art of making maple syrup was known by the original inhabitants of North America.  Immigrants who arrived from Europe soon learned the ways of the maple trees and how and when to harvest the sap for a much cheaper source of sugar than was available at the time.  For a brief history with speculation on how sap harvesting began see here.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters