Turning sap into syrup in the new Millennium - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Turning sap into syrup in the new Millennium

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Its a tradition that has been around for years in Wisconsin, but the process of making maple syrup is changing with new technology and equipment.

From buckets to pipelines and reverses osmosis machines, the process of making sap to syrup is becoming less sticky.

With the snow melting and birds chirping we're all reminded that official start to spring is just a few days away.  And for many Northern Wisconsin that means it's time to tapping maple trees.

"Its a great thing to do in the spring is the last hooray of winter because when syrup season starts we start getting some nice days and a person just really enjoys being outside," say Ray Melander. 

Ray and is wife have been tapping trees and making maple syrup for 15 years.  This year they joined forces with another couple and built a new state of the art facility to change sap into syrup. 

"Most people will tap trees and make their own syrup in their own facility but there are plenty of people who tap trees and don't have a large enough cooking facility where they are able to make all of the sap they collect into syrup so then they are able to bring it to people such as Steve and I," says Ray. 

Instead of the traditional bucket or bag method, the families have used a new cleaner and resourceful method, that brings the sap directly from the forest to a holding area.

"What has really changed for us is just the efficiency, labor efficiency, instead of having to gather sap everyday using a trailer or a cart now we have lines running from tree to tree and that sap is drawn to our collection facility with vacuum.  So that has really saved us alot of time, we can spend more time back at the plant actually cooking the sap down into maple syrup," says co-partner, Steve Emmerich. 

In that plant they can make 15 to 20 gallons of syrup and hour and up to 200 gallons a day.  With all the new technology from making sap into syrup one thing is sill the same they use a wood burning stove.

Even though the technology to make syrup has changed the end product is still the same, sweet maple syrup made in Wisconsin.

Using traditional methods they could only make around 1 gallon an hour.

For more information on Sweet Nature Foods check out their website.

Online Reporter: Kristen Connolly

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