When we first moved to Blues End Farm a Kentucky State forester came out to help us evaluate our woods. One comment he made during his visit was about all the maple trees and asked, “are you going to make maple syrup?”. Our immediate reply was that we did not have any intention of making maple syrup. We didn’t even know how. The question got us thinking and with Euell Gibbons in mind we decided to give it a try. Doug lathed a few stiles and we bought some farm buckets to hang from the 6 trees we tapped that first season. Well we got sap and made syrup and it was good! So we did it again the next year. Well after sharing some syrup with Mom and Dad Welch they thought to help us out by buying us a “hobby” evaporator. We found someone with some extra sap buckets and stiles and we moved our third year to tapping 60 taps. We have done the 60 taps for a few years now and this year, 2014 we are preparing to have 100 taps for the 2015 season. We are remodeling our garage to add a kitchen so we don’t keep ruining the stove and cabinets in our kitchen. Our syrup continues to be some of the best we have ever had and our clientele is growing. We have no trouble selling the 15 gallons of syrup we have produced each year. We are anxious to see how it progresses.
We found maple cookies in a local store and got an idea to try to make our own. Ruth did some research and the first batches of cookies had real good cream filling but the cookie part needs some work. We are still trying to perfect it. Stay tuned.
Winter of 2015 we had 100 taps and a new evaporator that could process more sap much faster. It was great! We worked hard and ended up with 24 gallons of syrup! Wow! We were ready to go. We sold everything by word of mouth and through the Shelby County Farmers’ Market.
2016 Winter arrived and we were ready to do even more! We put in 110 taps and waited. That winter was not an easy winter for Kentucky syrup production. We had long spells of below freezing temps followed by long spells of above freezing temps. Our production was off and we only produced 7 gallons of syrup. What a disappointment!
Now in 2017 we again have 110 taps out and winter has, again, been a mess up to January 25 when we are writing this. We have produced no syrup yet and have only collected about 70 gallons of sap or so. We are watching the weather and hoping that this weekend and in to February, we will have good sap flow and syrup production. The season did not go well at all. We ended producing about 7 gallons of syrup. What a disappointment! Maybe next year?
Maple Syrup Tours – we have had a few opportunities to share the maple syrup making process with others and to enjoy some freshly made syrup poured over snow. It has been great! With recurring requests for us to show people about maple syrup we have decided to organize better and make it a regular offering to those who are interested. We’re calling it our “Sugar Shack Tour”.
Please call to find to arrange a tour. Pricing depends on number of people. The Sugar Shack Tour includes a visit to see the sap buckets on trees, seeing the sap being boiled in the evaporator, and pancakes with maple syrup or “de la tire” (syrup poured on snow).
So far in 2018 the sap flow hasn’t been overwhelming but it does show some signs a being a better season. Even so, we still haven’t produced our first syrup this year here at the end of January.