When spring days get above freezing, the sap begins to flow from the sugar maple trees. Sap flows best when the temperature is below freezing at night, then thaws during the day. In Northern Michigan, the main sap flow usually occurs during March. The sap is collected, then boiled down in an evaporator. When it reaches the perfect temperature, it is drawn off, filtered and bottled.

Tapping a maple tree causes no permanent damage if care is taken, and a tree can yield sap for over 100 years. Tapping the trees is the most labor intensive part of making maple syrup. It has to be done before the sap begins to flow, typically in February, so that usually means trudging through lots of snow. Our sap lines are elevated in the trees and can stay in the sugarbush year-round. In early spring, we just tap them into the trees. The lines are on a vacuum system which pulls the sap into collection tanks. It then gets pumped through underground pipes up to the farm.

Once the sap is up at the farm, it is pumped through a reverse osmosis machine which removes a large amount of water. The concentrated sap then goes to a holding tank which feeds into the evaporator, and the evaporation process begins. The temperature is closely monitored as the sap is boiled. The temperature at which sap becomes syrup varies depending on the barometric pressure, but it is basically 7° higher than the boiling point of water. When it reaches the perfect temperature, it is quickly drawn off the evaporator.

When the syrup is drawn off, it goes into a steam kettle where it is brought to the correct density; it must read 66.5 on a Brix scale to be classified as syrup. Once it is syrup (it is usually pretty close when it comes off the evaporator), it is pumped through a filter press and into storage kegs and barrels. We bottle it as needed, and maple syrup is the only sweetener we use in all of our products.

Golden Delicate

Golden Color, Delicate Taste maple syrup has the mildest maple flavor of all the grades. This grade is typically from the very beginning of the syrup season. Its mild, delicate taste makes it perfect on foods where the subtle maple flavor can really be appreciated. Use as a glaze for cured meats, and drizzled over yogurt, oatmeal, crepes, pancakes, or waffles.

Amber Rich

Amber Color, Rich Taste maple syrup has a smooth depth of maple flavor. It is the grade that we get during most of the syrup season. Amber maple syrup is best for all-around use – for pancakes and waffles, as well as in cooking, grilling, and baking. It’s also lovely as a sweetener in cocktails, and as a topping for vanilla ice cream.

Dark Robust

Dark Color, Robust Taste maple syrup has a much heartier maple flavor. This grade is typically from the end of the syrup season, just before the trees bud. Dark maple syrup is best used in cooking, adding a deep caramel flavor. It is the ideal sweetener for coffee drinks, and can be used as a more flavorful replacement for honey in any recipe.