The Sugarbush Diaries: 73 Taps, 500 Gallons, 12 Dozen Bottles of Made-in-Alberta Deliciousness
Plonk. Plonk. Plonk. The sap drops hitting the bottom of galvanized buckets in Preacher Park are louder than the raindrops on an April weekend at Michigan Tech's Ford Forestry Center.
The buckets aren't full yet. But across US-41, Tara Bal's (SFRES) Maple Syrup Management and Culture class is collecting from the sugarbush maples that line the streets of Alberta Village. The trees look a little like hospital patients receiving IV drips. Some bear rectangular blue sacks; you can see the clear liquid inside. Flexible, thin blue tubing protrudes from the tap holes on others, snaking down into white plastic buckets.
"Tapping doesn't hurt the trees," says Bal. You can pinpoint her location by following the smoke billowing above the Sugar Shack, out back of the research, education and conference center's dining hall and dorms. This year's sugarbush sap boil is in full production mode.A lot had to happen beforehand. Read the full story.