The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 10, 2013

Forest Glen personnel turn sap into syrup

(Continued)

WESTVILLE —

A hydrometer is used to measure the density of the fluid before it’s drained out. Once it is drained, the maple syrup goes through two filters before it is taken to the park kitchen where it’s bottled to be sold.

Years of tradition, however, haven’t made the process any more efficient. On average, Leahy said it takes between 40-50 gallons of sugar maple sap to make one gallon of syrup.

On nature’s terms

There are several factors that decide how much syrup Forest Glen can make in any given year. And unfortunately, few of those variables are under the control of park personnel like Leahy.

“Weather plays a big part,” Leahy said. “We need 20s at night and 40s during the day.”

The varying temperatures make the sap flow more freely from the trees. Constant temperatures, however, slow down the sap and hurt production — even with as many as 400 trees tapped at one time.

Trees are tapped in the middle of February and workers start collecting that week because the season will only last until the middle of March.

“We’ve made as little as 30 gallons and as much as 120 gallons,” Leahy said. “It varies and it’s changed since we first started.”

That combined with the labor-intensive process has led to less and less people willing to do it anymore, Leahy said. But Forest Glen has continued and taken pride in the process.

“We have people from Vermont that say this is even better than what they’ve got,” he said. “It’s a fuller body.”

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