There’s Nothing Like Michigan Maple Syrup!

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According to a recent Detroit News article, the unusually warm weather we’ve had has caused many to tap their trees earlier than usual.

Balmy spells can shorten the tapping season by pushing the tree to start budding. If that happens, it could squeeze a multimillion-dollar state industry that seeks the richest, sweetest topping for pancakes, cookies and other foods. “Everybody is calling me and asking me what I think,” said Larry Haigh, president of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, who has a syrup-making and supplies business in Bellevue near Battle Creek. “I’m saying: ‘Get ready. If it warms up, I’d go at it.’”

According to the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, Michigan ranks 5th in the U.S. for maple syrup production. They also have a handy list of producers on their website so you can get it directly from the source. (Of course, it’s also a great item to pick up at farmer’s markets)

If you’d like to make a family outing of maple syrup festivities, you might want to check these out:

Backyard Maple Sugaring at Blandford Nature Center (March 1, 5-7 pm)

Have you ever wanted to tap into that large sugar maple in your backyard and make some maple syrup? Then this is the class for you. Join us for this sweet evening and discover the wonderful world of maple sugaring. This demonstration will walk participants through the maple syrup process from beginning to end, including tree measurements, tapping and hanging buckets, filtering, cooking and syrup finishing. Adult program. Limit to 30 participants.$10 Members, $12 Non-members.  Please RSVP (616)735-6240.

Science of Sugaring at Blandford Nature Center (throughout the  month of March)

March is the month of maple syrup processing. We have school tours every weekday and special sessions open to the public. Public tours are Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2-5PM and require RSVP at 735-6240.  Saturdays tours are also open from Noon to 5PM.  Cost is $5.

Circle Pines Center Maple Syrup Weekends (March 9-11 and 16-18)

With a little help from mother nature, the sweet smell of boiling sap will fill the air these weekends. Join us for a weekend in the sugar bush when the forest transforms into this agricultural opus. Learn how to tap trees, hang buckets, collect and boil sap, and create the ambrosial nectar we call maple syrup. The climax of the weekends’ efforts will be a pancake breakfast where we savor the smoky, sweet fruits of our labor. We’ll also be inviting a local musician to help entertain us on Saturday night. Two nights and five meals. COST: $130 (non-members); $110 (members); Kids (4-17) 1/2 price!

Kalamazoo Nature Center Maple Sugar Festival (March 17 & 18)

Join us for our 47th Annual Maple Sugar Festival!  Maple treats and fun activities await you at this celebration of the coming of spring.  Start your day off with pancakes and real Michigan maple syrup!  Take a stroll through the woods on a maple sugar tour to see how maple syrup is made in our sugaring shack.  A maple carnival full of games and activities for the whole family will be set up in the Interpretive Center. Finish off your day with a maple syrup and ice cream treat!

Blandford Nature Center Sugarbush Festival (March 24, 9 am - 5 pm)

Come discover the Science of Sugaring! Witness the amazing process of maple syrup making from the tapping of the trees to the boiling of the sap….. and then try some on your pancakes! This event features a pancake breakfast all day long and admission includes both a one-hour sugarbush tour and a pancake breakfast! Join us for some educational family fun in a natural setting. This is a public event and all are welcome. The more the merrier! $10 Adults, $5 Kids.

Crystal Mountain Maple Syrup Festival (March 31)

Tree tapping demonstrations, maple syrup vendors, cooking demos, chainsaw wood carving demonstration, and pancakes drenched in delicious northern Michigan maple syrup are just a few of the highlights.

Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival (April 27-29)

Shepherd, Michigan (on US 127 between Alma and Mt. Pleasant)

Activities: Pancake, syrup, and sausage meals; 5K run; Tractor pulls; Sugar Bush open house and syrup sales; Amusement rides; Arts and Crafts; Parade; Classic Car and Antique Tractor displays; Historical Society, Train Depot, and Little Red School House Museums.

Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival (April 27-29)

Vermontville, MI (Southwest of Lansing, MI)

Several programs throughout the weekend, typically featuring activities at the Maple Manor (maple syrup, blacksmith, and woodworking demonstrations), arts & crafts show, breakfasts, dinners, BBQs, Little Miss Maple Syrup Pageant.

Want to know what to do with all that syrup (other than topping pancakes, of course!)? Check out 10 Maple Syrup Recipes at my blog The Local Cook.

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