Spring is in the air, and it’s a good time to get out of the house for a visit to the Wayzata Big Woods. Join us there for the second maple sugaring event some time on:

Saturday, March 19 2011 at 2 pm.

We need volunteers of all ages to help tap the maple trees. You’ll learn the historic art of maple sugaring, and you’ll have some good, family fun.

The exact date of this event is still uncertain, since the season for maple sugaring can start in mid-February and run through March or April, depending on the weather. We will schedule our event on a weekend some time in mid-March. Temperatures need to be below freezing at night and above freezing during the daytime. When temperatures are between 28 and 40 degrees, the fluctuation creates the ideal situation for the sap to flow.

Participation in this event is limited, so if you are interested in joining the maple sugaring event, please contact me at merrily@visi.com or 952-473-2999, and I will notify you of the date once it is determined.

All materials needed for tapping trees will be provided, thanks to the generosity of our sponsor, The Retreat, a recovery center located in the heart of the Big Woods.

Here are some of the interesting things participants will learn at this event:

  • It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
  • Trees to be tapped must be at least 12 inches in diameter.
  • Sugar maple, black maple, red and silver maple are the best trees to tap, because they have the highest sugar content, but birch, walnut or box elder may also be tapped.
  • Native Americans taught Minnesota pioneers the skill of making maple syrup, which provided sweetener when sugar was scarce.
  • We will use cans to collect sap, but the Native Americans used birch bark containers fixed with pitch to stop leaking.
  • Native Americans knew it was time to move to the “sugar bush” camp (the hardwood maple forests) when they saw the crows return.Maple sugaring stops when the sap runs cloudy, the trees start budding, or legend says when the frogs start croaking after a thunder and lightening storm.

When we have completed collecting sap we will schedule a date to watch how the liquid is processed into syrup at a farm in Medina, and all participants will be able to bring home their own Maple syrup. Again, the participation is limited.