Syrup season in full swing for UP sugar bush

The syrup is constantly monitored and tested to ensure it is cooking in the right conditions.
The syrup is constantly monitored and tested to ensure it is cooking in the right conditions.(wluc)
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:49 PM EDT
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CARNEY, Mich. (WLUC) - Maple syrup season is in full swing for one Menominee County business.

Jasper’s Sugar Bush in Carney has been owned by Stefanie Klee’s family for five generations, dating back to 1885.

“It feels really good to be fifth generation and still have it in the family,” Klee said. “We are happy we have been able to keep it in the family this far.”

The sap is harvested from taps in the maple trees after the trees freeze and thaw. The family uses 14,000 taps on about 170 acres of trees.

Klee says this year is gearing up to be a good one.

“This year we have started slightly earlier and so far, the temperatures have been consistent, and we have had some good thawing and freezing so it looks like it is going to turn out to be a pretty good season this year,” Klee said.

After the sap is collected from the trees it makes its way through tubes to the sugar shack where it is boiled down to make maple syrup.

“It takes about 40 gallons of raw sap to make one gallon of syrup,” Klee said. “At our sugar bush in one season, we produce anything from 3,000 gallons up to possibly 4,000 or 4,500 gallons a season.”

Klee says the work doesn’t just end after sap collecting season.

“It gets all stored in 55-gallon drums until we are ready to bottle,” Klee said. “We bottle roughly every 2-3 weeks throughout the entire year, so our season doesn’t just end when sap season ends in the spring. We are working all year long to get the syrup out on the shelf.”

Klee says it’s important to support local businesses.

“I know with all the increase in prices of food in the stores it is super important to source your food locally,” Klee said. “Know where your food is coming from and buy from local businesses. We are out here working hard to produce food to go on your table.”

Jasper’s Sugar Bush will be holding a pancake day on April 30. Attendees will be able to view how the syrup is made and enjoy the fresh product.