Each spring, when the days lengthen and the temperatures rise, Michiganders walk out into the woods to partake in the state’s oldest agricultural activity: tapping maple trees for sap, which is then transformed into delectable maple syrup, candies, and other delicious delicacies. This year, over twenty Michigan Maple Syrup Association Members will take part in this year’s Annual Michigan Maple Syrup Weekends, lasting from mid-March through early April
- March 19-20: Southern Lower Peninsula (south of US10)
- March 26-27: Northern Lower Peninsula (north of US10)
- April 2-3: Upper Peninsula
Last season, a global maple syrup scarcity forced the Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) to surrender around half of its strategic reserve owing to a poor crop. Quebec produces more than 70% of the world’s maple syrup, with the majority poured over pancakes and waffles in the United States, its largest customer. However, Canadian Sugar Bushes were unable to keep up with worldwide demand, which climbed by 21% this year.
Vist Michigan Maple Syrup Tapping Operations
The farms include a range of family-friendly activities that allow visitors to see firsthand how maple sap is gathered, boiled down, and transformed into sweet maple syrup and other maple delicacies. Many of the farms give tours of their operations, which include tree tapping demonstrations, sampling of their products, maple syrup recipes, and local maple syrup goods for sale. Attendees are encouraged to wear boots because mud and snow may still be plentiful this year. Despite the fact that many events take place outside, visitors are encouraged to wear masks and keep social distance in order to protect health and safety throughout the pandemic.
In the spring, when the days lengthen and the temperatures rise (due to more minutes and hours of sunlight), Michigan’s sugar maple trees produce “liquid gold” – transparent sap that is cooked down into sweet and delectable maple syrup. The procedure stretches back to before Michigan became a state, to the early Native Americans.
More Farms Are Looking to Tap Into a Sweet Business
Today, Michigan ranks fifth in the US for maple syrup production, with an annual economic effect of over $2.5 million. Michigan generates around 90,000 gallons of syrup each year on average (it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, meaning more than 3.6 million gallons of sap is harvested). Maple sugaring also helps Pure Michigan’s total $104 billion agriculture and $22 billion tourist sectors.
Sugar maple is the favored tree for tapping due to its high sugar content of roughly 2%. However, with a sugar level of roughly 1%, black maple, red maple, silver maple, and ash leafed maple may all be tapped to generate syrup. Sugar maple is Michigan’s most prevalent tree species, and the northern hardwood woods where they thrive occupy over five million acres. While various Canadian provinces and New England state areas are frequently acknowledged as leaders in the maple sugaring business, Michigan possesses more than three times the number of sugar maples as Quebec or Vermont, implying that the potential for expansion is limitless. Michigan now uses less than 1% of its potential maple resources.
Sap varies from farm to farm and region to area, as it does with every agricultural crop, depending on soil richness. Furthermore, the temperature and tree species of the area have a role in this business, therefore syrup flavor profiles vary from region to region, even within the same state.
More Things to Do In Michigan
Of course, there’s more than just syrup to be enjoyed. Maple syrup producers are also making candy, ice cream, and other sweet treats with their bounty. Even Michigan wineries, breweries, and distilleries craft beverages with maple sap or syrup for special seasonal offerings.
Later in the season, other noteworthy events include the Annual Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival (April 22-24) and 64th Annual Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival (April 21-24).
The Michigan Maple Syrup Association, founded in 1962, is a non-profit organization committed to preserving maple sugaring in Michigan and promoting Michigan pure maple products. It has 130 members from around the state.
A map and a list of the 24 farms taking part in Michigan Maple Weekend may be found online. at MichiganMaple.org (or see the list below).
Southern Lower: March 19-20
- Aiken Sugar Bush, Walkerville
- Butternut Creek Sugar Shack, Mendon
- H & H Sugarbush, Chelsea
- Law Family Farm, North Branch
- MapleWorxz, Caro (Since 1949)
- Merten Farms, Hart
- Mike’s Maple Syrup, Fenwick (Four Generations)
- Shepherd Sugarbush, Shepherd
- Sugar Shack at Heritage Park, Hanover
- Ty-Kat Sugar Shack, Galien
Northern Lower: March 26-27
- 4D Acre Farm, Hawks
- Alpine Maple Farm, Gaylord
- Bonz Beach Farms, Onaway
- Britt Family Pure Maple Syrup, Tawas City
- Delaney’s Wood Fired Maple Syrup, Rose City
- Highland Hills Maple Syrup, Marion
- Maple Dale Farm, Atlanta
- Owl Ridge Maple Sugar Farm, Frankfort
- Ron’s Pure Maple Syrup | Reetz Family Sugar Bush, West Branch (Since 1872)
- Southwell Sugar Shack, Mancelona
- Sweet Success Sugar Bush, Mio
- Wood Farms, Rapid City
Upper Peninsula: April 2-3
- Besteman Maple Products, Rudyard
- Postma Brothers Maple Syrup, Rudyard (Since 1901)
- RMG Maple Products, Rudyard