maple syrup

It's sugaring season in Michigan. Did a mild winter and recent burst of warm weather give maple syrup producers anything to worry about?

Daniel Wanschura

When Joe and Bobbi Woods bought a 40-acre parcel in Rapid City, they weren't thinking about starting a maple syrup farm. They planned to grow hay.

What started out with a just few buckets 20 years ago, has now grown into a nearly 600-gallon maple syrup operation annually. It’s a family operation for the Woods. During syrup season, their son Grant usually helps out, checking to make sure the sap flows freely through the line system.

Tom Carr

Warm days and cool nights have the sap running steadily through a web of plastic tubes into Joe Woods' sugar shack in Rapid City.

But the cold winter started things about three weeks late for Woods and other commercial syrup makers in the area.

So far, Woods has produced about 400 gallons, which is about half of an ideal year.

He thinks he may be able to get one more week of good sap.

The first farm crop to be harvested in Michigan is ready. 

Michigan ranks number five in maple syrup production each year, and according to the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, that sweet syrup helps pump nearly $2.5 million into Michigan's economy each year.

But there are plenty of maple trees in Michigan that are not being tapped. So we wondered, if we have all these trees, why aren't more people making maple syrup?

Michael Farrell's book is called The Sugar Makers Companion: An Integrated Approach to Producing Syrup from Maple, Birch, and Walnut Trees.

Farrell joins us today.

Listen to the full interview above.