Syrup season starts in Mid-Michigan

“It takes between 35 to 60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. "
Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 4:57 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Imagine this, you make pancakes but forgot to pick up the maple syrup. Well, your in luck because March is maple sugaring season.

When the days are warmer, and night gives freezing temperatures, you bet that maple syrup season is off to a great start. Alexa Seegar from Fenner Natures Center says it’s been an excellent year for maple syrup production because of the fluctuating weather the state has had. She says the trees have produced the most sap she has seen to date.

“So once your trees are large enough you can start tapping them,” said Alexa Seegar, Development Manager Fenner Conservancy. “Typically sugar maples are what is tapped to make the syrup we all know and love. But certainly, there are other trees you can tap as well. Basically, you drill a hole and pound in the tap, it actually does not hurt the tree and it does heal over the taps. It is not a detriment to the tree and then you wait for the weather to cooperate. Once it gets above freezing during the day and below freezing at night it creates a vacuum in the tree to pull the sap up and down. As it moves it runs out of the tap. In the bucket, we have two inches of sap right now since we just emptied it to start boiling.”

For fun and education, the Fenner Nature Center has put out twenty buckets to collect sap from its trees. Visitors can learn how to drill into trees, place spouts, collect sap, and boil it into syrup. You learn from the experts that it takes roughly 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup hence the name “nature’s gold”.

“Typically sugaring season starts in March, depending on the weather you look for above-freezing in the day and below-freezing at night. So we are out here cooking in preparation for our maple syrup festival March 25th,” said Seegar.

Redford Jones is a volunteer and educator at the Fenner Nature Center. He learned from friends how to cook sap and now helps to teach others.

“It takes about anywhere between 35 to 60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup,” said Jones. “All of this steam in here is just the water vapor coming up off these boiling pans”, says Jones.

For most of Michigan, March is the heart of Maple Syrup Season and it lasts four to six weeks.

If you want to view a full list of Michigan Maple Syrup Festivals you can click right here.

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