Michigan residents encouraged to visit Sugar Bushes - WNEM TV 5

Michigan residents encouraged to visit Sugar Bushes

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ISABELLA COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

People from around the state travel to their local sugar bush to get a firsthand look at how maple syrup and other maple products get made.

Ron Rhynard is the President of the Shepherd Sugar Bush Corporation, a local maple syrup manufacturer and he said you just have to jump in!

Now I know what you’re thinking, what exactly is a “sugar bush?”

“A sugar bush is the building where they boil the syrup, I can’t tell you why it’s called that," Rhynard said.

TV5’s Ashlyn Hill spent the day learning how to tap trees and track the boiling process from the tree-sap to maple syrup.

A volunteer with the corporation, Jonathan Zalud, said it’s powerful machinery.

“When this thing is running full steam, we can make 30 gallons in an hour,” Zalud said.

Each facility serves a very important purpose for the syrup season, which Rhynard says depends heavily on the weather.

“When you have those big warmups and it gets that warm early on and stops freezing at night, those trees start to develop their buds,” Rhynard said. “So that ultimately will usually shorten your season some.”

This year, the process to begin collecting the sap began on February 8. In past years, the sap collecting process started in early to mid-March.

“I’m not worried,” Rhynard said.

Rhynard explained that they would reach a thousand gallons by the time the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival takes place April 27th-30th. 

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