In the Sugarbush

Posted on March 7, 2011


The very best thing that happens at this particular time of year is that the sap begins to rise in the sugar maples. It’s a big deal in Michigan, and all across the North Country, because tapping the trees and boiling the sap down to make maple syrup and maple sugar is something we’ve done here since before the memory of time. For centuries the precious sweetness has come just in time to stave off the great hunger of late winter and restore our spirits.

You can go buy really good maple syrup or maple sugar candy at any of the farm markets Around Here, but you can do that all year round. Just this once, why not pull on your mittens and tramp out to the sugar shack? Stand in the steam, drop a bit of the boiled sap on a snowball, and eat the excellent treat. Know in your bones that spring will come and the rich fields will yield food once more.

Maple Sugaring Open House
Saturday, March 26th, 10 am to 3 pm
Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center (M-66 south of East Jordan)
Donations suggested

Take a naturalist-led hike out to the sugar bush, tour the sugar shack, and watch maple syrup being made right in front of you. Bring your kids out to meet the friendly farm animals. Taste samples of maple sap and syrup served over ice cream. Browse the maple-themed bake sale. You might even win a door prize. This is an old-timey sugar shack.  The kids will love it, and you will, too.  For more info, contact Wagbo at 231-536-0333, or visit the website.

Syrup Season Open House
Parsons Centennial Farm (Parsons Road, Charlevoix)
Sunday, March 20th, 1-4 pm

The Parsons family has been producing maple syrup from the sugarbush around Harwood Lake for more than a century. They love the spring tradition, but they embrace new technology, too, and have created a state of the art commercial maple syrup operation. Their website is a marvel of good stories and clear explanations and I invite you to go read all about their Harwood Heritage Gold. Then go see it all for yourself on the 20th.

(I know, I know, that’s a photo left over from our visit to Farmer White’s last October.  But it’s Harwood Harvest Gold!  And bloggers whose cameras are in the hospital cannot be choosers.)