By Sue Moore
The thought that spring is near means maple trees will start disgorging their beautiful sap for sugaring time.
What starts out as a thin stream of greyish liquid has to be boiled down for hours to convert it into maple syrup, said Terry Moyers. He makes about 250 gallons per year and demonstrates the process at his annual sugar shack gathering March 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 24890 Flach Road near Mendon.
His family of helpers roll out free pancakes, eggs and sausage, with last year’s maple syrup to smother them in. It’s a two-day celebration of what nature gives back in various quantities each year. “Last year we had lots of rain, so we might not have as much sugar in the crop, making the syrup a little darker. Nobody made any light syrup last year because it was such a wet summer.”
Moyers takes his guests for a walk in the woods in small groups to explain how he taps the trees all around his house during the two days. His 2018 crop is on sale but the real reason for the open house is to educate the public about Michigan maple syrup on a weekend designated by the state.
A similar event, Backyard Sugarin’, will be held at the Schoolcraft library on Saturday, March 23 with Tom Long doing the honors by tapping the maple tree in front of the library. He works as a librarian year-round and in the spring gathers sap from trees on his farm to boil down for syrup. The plan is to demonstrate the entire process, including boiling it down and providing samples to try, said Library Director Faye VanRavenswaay. Long will be demonstrating to all who want to stop by from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to experience the maple sugaring process up close while sampling freshly made syrup.