Spring is here! The birds are singing, suns shining, temperatures are rising and sap is running. It’s maple syrup season out here in northern Michigan and we’re getting after it!

My family has been making syrup in the Cadillac area for 50 years! From the time I could hold a drill and a bucket I’ve been out in the woods with my grandparents every spring tapping hundreds of trees and collecting sap in buckets to be hauled back to the sap house to be burned down. That first taste of syrup is always amazing!

Tapping begins in late February and is dependent on the weather. Ideally, it will be below freezing at night and warmer during the day time. Did you know that each gallon of finished syrup takes anywhere from 30 to 50 gallons of sap? Each year my grandparents produce around 100 gallons of tasty syrup – that’s 3,000 to 5,000 gallons of sap!

Sap looks like water and tastes slightly sweet (my favorite to fill my water bottle with!). Sap starts with no maple flavor, that actually comes later and is developed during the boiling process. The heat caramelizes the sugars in the sap and brings out that sweet maple taste.

So the next time you see those little jugs of syrup made in Michigan on your grocery store shelves, know that there are many countless sap harvesters working hard to bring you that golden brown breakfast gold!