Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Maple Sugaring Season! and Michigan on a Budget #2

Did you know that Michigan is very active in the Maple Sugar industry? Michigan is one of few places in the world that has native maples suitable for sugaring!

This is the time of year to see some sugaring demonstrations. Freezing nights and above freezing days cause the sap to run. On a good day, from a large tree, you might get a gallon of sap. It takes forty gallons of sap to boil down to 1 gallon of syrup!

Parks all over Michigan are doing maple sugar demos in the next couple of weeks. My family headed over to Independence Oaks in Clarkston for Maple Magic last weekend. Using a puppet show to interest the kids, we learned the basics of tapping a tree, collecting the sap and boiling it down to syrup. With crafts and samples of foods made from maple syrup the program kept everyone happy!

After the inside portion, we headed outside to tap a tree and see a kettle of sap boiling over an open fire. The presenters did a great job and the program was enjoyed by everyone!

The park itself looked like it had a lot to do. We passed trails, play equipment and picnic tables. The Lewis Wint Nature Center has both stuffed and live animals to check out. The entrance fee into the park is $7 for a day, so if it hadn't been raining we would have spent a lot longer. The program was an additional $2 a person. If the weather had been nicer, we could've packed a lunch and had a great day out for $13. Definitely budget friendly!

Check out the Maple Syrup Association website for more information about sugaring and check out possible demos in your area!

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