While exploring Wisconsin these days, you may spot more than just a few people walking through the woods with pails and taps in tow. It is maple syrup season in Wisconsin and these hardy folks are searching for Wisconsin’s official tree, the Sugar Maple.
Throughout March and early April, as the daytime temperatures rise into the forties and fall below freezing at night, sugar maples are tapped for their sap which is then boiled down to maple syrup – nature’s nectar as we like to call it. This simple process has been passed down from one generation to the next and remains relatively unchanged.
Harvesting maple syrup may be simple, but it is by no means easy. To produce one gallon of all-natural maple syrup, 40 gallons of sap must be collected. The thought of carrying forty gallons of sap through the woods is enough to convince most of us to wait until the maple syrup is on the shelves for sale.
But, where there’s a will, there’s a way and there’s a lot of “will” in Wisconsin maple syrup producers. Every year, more than 400,000 sugar maples are tapped and over 100,000 gallons of pure maple syrup is produced in Wisconsin – putting Wisconsin among the top five maple syrup producing states in the nation.
With warmer days and better weather ahead, explore Wisconsin’s maple syrup producers. Traveling through northern Wisconsin you can get a first-hand look at how nature’s sweetest gift is made and purchase some fresh from the tree maple syrup.
Since 1965, Al and Linda Hustad have been making, producing and selling maple syrup, maple cream, maple candy, and even maple mustard, at Hustad’s Sugarbush in Cumberland. They are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and by appointment. Call ahead at 715-822-4608 or e-mail Al at firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know you are coming.
Between Abbotsford and Wausau, David and Gerri Loucks have been making maple syrup for almost fifty years at the Loucks Dairy Farm. Every year, the Loucks produce about 1,000 gallons of maple syrup which you can buy at their farm by the gallon, half gallon, quart or pint. Call ahead for hours toll-free at 1-888-670-1176.
Since 1889, three generations of the Polak Family have been producing maple syrup at Maple Hollow located just a few miles northeast of Merrill. Take a walk through their Syrup House to see how it’s made and pick from an extensive line of maple syrup in all sizes. They are open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. From February through May, Maple Hollow is also open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.