Michigan’s liquid gold already flowing

    2023 harvest yielded more than 7.8 million gallons of sap
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    Maple syrup in leaf-shaped bottles. Michigan Maple Syrup Association courtesy photos.

    Michigan, known for its lush maple trees, is gearing up for another exciting maple syrup season. With the familiar rhythm of warm days and chilly nights, sap was already beginning to flow in the early days of February. Some producers have wasted no time, seizing the opportunity to harvest sap and craft limited batches of the coveted syrup.

    But maple syrup in Michigan isn’t just about the sweet amber liquid. It’s a seasonal treasure that inspires a range of delightful treats, from candies to ice creams. Even local wineries, breweries, distilleries and craft cocktail makers have joined in the celebrating this Michigan made sweet treat, incorporating maple sap or syrup into their special seasonal offerings.

    A tray of maple syrup candies.

    In 2023, Michigan saw a remarkable surge in maple syrup production, matching the record set in 2019, with a total of 195,000 gallons collected statewide. To put this into perspective, it takes a whopping 40 gallons of clear sap to produce just one gallon of syrup, resulting in an impressive cumulative harvest of over 7.8 million gallons of sap.

    While sugar maple reigns supreme for its high sugar content, other maple varieties like black maple, red maple, silver maple, and ash leafed maple also contribute to the syrup bounty, each with its own distinct flavor profile. With over five million acres of northern hardwood forests abundant with sugar maple trees, Michigan boasts an impressive potential for maple syrup production, surpassing even the renowned maple regions of Canada and New England.

    The diversity of soil, climate, and tree species across Michigan’s landscape ensures that every syrup batch offers a unique taste of the region. From the southern reaches to the Upper Peninsula, each maple syrup reflects the terroir of its surroundings.

    Over the past 13 years, Michigan has consistently ranked fifth in the nation for maple syrup production, with an average annual yield of 136,000 gallons. This thriving industry contributes significantly to the state’s economy, generating $6.975 million in 2023 alone.

    To celebrate this time-honored tradition, the Michigan Maple Syrup Association invites locals and visitors alike to experience the magic of maple syrup production during the Annual Michigan Maple Syrup Weekends. Spanning from mid-March to early April, these events offer a glimpse into the fascinating process of tapping, collecting, and boiling sap into syrup. From the southern to the northern regions, farms open their doors to eager guests, offering tours, demonstrations, and, of course, plenty of delicious samples to savor.

    So mark your calendars for these upcoming dates:

    • March 23-24: Southern Lower Peninsula
    • March 30-31: Northern Lower Peninsula
    • April 6-7: Upper Peninsula

    Additionally, don’t miss out on the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival from April 26-28 and the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival from April 25-28. Whether you’re a seasoned syrup enthusiast or a curious newcomer, these events promise an unforgettable journey into the world of Michigan maple syrup. Just remember to don your boots, as the spring thaw may bring mud and snow along for the adventure.

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