Monday, April 11, 2011

Maple tapping on Minnetonka Boulevard

Tapping Maple sap
Tapping maple sap

I have driven by the site many times. Minnetonka Boulevard in spring. Stands of Maple trees are being drained of sap. It looks like tree-torture; the plastic 5 gallon pails, the taps, the blue-white draining hoses. But of course it is not. It is Howard Bennis and his neighbors continuing an age-old tradition of tapping, boiling and making Maple syrup. Native Americans came to Lake Minnetonka, and Big Island for ages to create the precious syrup and sweetener.
If you see smoke curling out from his house "Howie" is boiling away at his industrial grade cooker, condensing the Maple sap. Some times it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of Maple Syrup.


Here a gracious neighbor displays the clear sap . It is flowing less freely now, the warm nights signal the end of production. Sometimes during the height of sapping (my term) the 5 gallon pails must be emptied twice or more a day.

Note: Things I learned along the way. Tapping for Maple syrup was encouraged during WWII to supplement a family's sugar supply, which was rationed (Until 1950). 90 percent of our sugar was imported at that time .Also Maple syrup production was made popular during the civil war (and before by abolitionists) when the Southern States were the main producers of sugar cane.


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