A View Through the Seasons

While spring is the season for cooking maple syrup, there is work to do all year long. Like other forms of farming, the off season is spent on maintenance, repairs, and improvements. Our family will use this space to share our experiences through the entire process of cooking syrup, including the work that goes into the off season.

Granola

Why buy granola when it is so easy to make? Making your own allows you to select the ingredients you like, adjust the sweetness and eliminate preservatives. This recipe uses Martin and Sons Whiskey Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup. INGREDIENTS 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats 1 cup sea salt dry roasted pistachio kernels 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled 1 cup shredded unsweetened shredded coconut ½ cup Martin and Sons Whiskey Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup ½ cup olive Read more…

Recipes

Cooking and baking combine science and art, resulting in food that is delicious and fulfilling. Through food we can build connections with others, express ourselves, and share joy and love.

Pump House 2

The Little Pump House that Could

Our maple woods do not have a lot of topography, so gravity flow is not an option.  Sap is drawn from the trees under vacuum to pump houses, then is pumped to centralized storage tanks.  To understand the layout, picture a center point with lines radiating out in a semi-circle.  At the center is the building housing the reverse osmosis (RO) equipment.  This is designated pump house 1, but we usually call it the RO Read more…

Sugar Shack Addition

Last Spring, we transitioned to a maple syrup operation that was set up with vacuum lines and included a beautiful western red cedar sugar shack complete with a traditional cupola.  The shack had not been used since the lines were installed, leaving a little bit of preparation before the season.  We needed a way to get concentrated sap to the sugar shack and ultimately, to the evaporator inside.  This was addressed by breaking the challenge Read more…

Fire It Up

Maple syrup is the product of boiling sap over heat until it reaches 7 degrees above the boiling temperature of water.  While that is typically 219° F, the boiling temperature is influenced by atmospheric pressure.  The amount of time required to cook sap down to syrup depends on the heat, the volume of sap being cooked, and the percentage of sugar (an indication of how much water needs to be boiled off).  We tapped about Read more…

To tap or not to tap, that is the question…

As February approaches, the question that is top of mind for most maple syrup producers in Wisconsin is when to begin tapping trees.  There are variables to consider such as weather forecast, number of trees, method of sap collection (lines vs pails), and size of crew available to help.  Tapping trees last spring in the Rhinelander area was hard work.  Not only was the snow deep, but there was an early wet snow followed by Read more…

Life Skills: Cement Work

Last spring we encountered problems with mud. This is a normal part of spring in northern Wisconsin and is especially prominent when the frost begins to thaw from the ground. The downside is that mud gets tracked everywhere. Over the summer we had a couple of projects to reduce the impact of mud in the next syrup season. One project was pouring a cement pad on the front and back of the sugar shack, as Read more…