It’s spring time and that means maple sugaring season! (I totally started this post back in March!) This year we went to a pancake breakfast at the Chelsea Alehouse, which was a fundraiser for The Big 400. The Big 400 is a project spearheaded by the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce seeking to establish an economic development strategy that linked the Waterloo Recreation Area to the business community. The area encompasses a 20 mile by 20 mile area, hence the term “Big 400”.
Breakfast was not all you can eat, but we did get three pancakes, maple syrup, bacon, orange juice, and Biggby coffee. It was all delicious even if we wanted a bit more. After breakfast we headed over to the Eddy Discovery Center for their Old-time Maple Sugar Festival. First we sat in on a speaker event where she described the general process of tapping trees and showed us some equipment that the Native Americans and pioneers used to collect and boil the sap.
After the talk, we went outside and saw a demo of the sap being boiled down to make syrup. It takes a lot of sap to make a gallon of syrup, like 40:1! We headed on a nature walker where three trees were tapped using three different methods: traditional metal buckets, a plastic bag that looked a lot like the tree was getting an IV, and the cheap method, just a milk jug. The walk was really nice and it was fun to see the different tapping methods.
Finally, we ended back in the Discovery Center to watch a film about local maple syrup producers and their process of collecting and making maple syrup. I found it really interesting! The entire program at the Discovery Center was free so that’s a bonus. I would highly recommend that you check out this event next year. It was a fun way to spend the morning.