Curious about what a sugar maker does in the fall when the sap isn’t flowing? Well...we visit other sugar makers of course!
During the maple season, we are so busy making syrup that we don’t have time to go visit fellow producers. This is where the Michigan Maple Syrup Association comes in. The MMSA organizes a Fall Tour for its members so they can visit other sugarhouses. Every year, a different area of the state is selected, and tours of about five to six sugaring operations are arranged. The visits include sugar makers of various sizes that range from as little as 250 taps all the way up to 16,000.
Every sugarhouse is unique, just like the sugar maker that runs the operation. Some are considered ‘old school’ and cook outside over an open fire, while others utilize the latest technology. On the Fall Tour we see how each sugar maker collects their sap and how the sap is boiled. Some employ modern tubing systems with high vacuum pumps, while others continue to use old metal buckets for gathering sap. Wood, fuel oil, propane, natural gas, and even electric are some of the different heat sources that producers use to boil down the sap. Each operation has its own methods and stories to share with other members.
So, back to the question, “What do Sugar Makers do in the Fall?” We take time to visit and learn from our fellow sugar makers and friends in the maple community.