Each spring, The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore presents an event highlighting the maple sugar production methods of the region. Maple Sugar Days runs the first two weekends of March at the Chellberg Farm, part of the National Lakeshore.
Rangers and volunteers demonstrate the traditional methods of maple syrup collection and production, ranging from the Native American methods to relatively modern methods used on the farm back in the 1930's.
With the warm weather we've experienced, the sap was flowing - slowly dripping from the spiles into the covered buckets. The sap needs the warm days and freezing nights to begin to move up the tree, and the spiles channel the sap from the small hole drilled in the tree, to the buckets. This process only lasts a few weeks. Once the weather is warm enough, the tree begins to gain nourishment from photosynthesis instead of the sap, and the sap becomes bitter.
The covers on the buckets keep snow and water from getting into the collected sap, as well as critters that may wander into the bucket for a drink.
Once collected, the sap is taken to the sugar shack where it is boiled down into syrup.
Posted by Tom Gill at Friday, March 11, 2016