SWAPPING GIGS: Sterling learns the process of making maple syrup - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SWAPPING GIGS: Sterling learns the process of making maple syrup

Posted: Updated: Feb 25, 2013 06:20 AM EST

MEDORA, Ind. (WDRB) -- Take a stroll through Tim Burton's Maplewood Farm and the evidence is hanging everywhere. It's harvest time and the sap is starting to run.

Making maple syrup is a family affair for the Burton family. The farm in Medora, Indiana supplies pure maple syrup to many restaurants in Chicago and Louisville.

But before it hits the dinner table, its journey begins on the Burton's 28-acre farm that's home to more than 700 maple trees. Burton said, "The rule of thumb is that each tap will yield about 10 gallons of sap a season. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. So in essence, we have to boil off 39 gallons of water or sap to get one gallon of maple syrup."

Burton's passion for making maple syrup is as strong as the trees he gathers his sap from. He takes pride in the fact that harvesting sap does not permanently damage the tree. The tap hole is only an inch and a half deep.

"There's no harm to the tree," Burton said. "The tree is in good condition when we are finished. We want to make sure that we protect the trees and make sure we are not tapping a tree that is too small. We are tapping it at least 10 inches in diameter or more," said Burton.

The maple sap only flows for 7 weeks out of the year, and the harvest ends in March. Once the sap is collected, it's off to the sugar house for the refining process. The sap is boiled down to its purest form through an evaporator machine. The machine can make up to 13 gallons of syrup an hour.

Burton said, "This year we are up to about 400 gallons and we are about halfway into the season. We hope to produce 2,000 gallons of syrup by the end of the season."

Burton's working overtime right now getting ready for the National Maple Syrup Festival. It's held on his farm and in Medora, Indiana. The festival is held the first two weekends in March.

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