Hoping for sweet success in Greene County

XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – Winter may not be over yet but February means maple syrup time! However the cold temperatures might keep the sap from flowing.

It’s a beautiful winter day at Narrow’s Reserve in Greene County. On our search for the perfect maple tree to tap the cold air is getting in the way.

Ashlee Schmitt Naturalist says, “We need the nights below freezing and we need our days above freezing 35-40 degrees with a bright sunny day is about perfect.”

When the temperatures are perfect as many as 40 to 50 trees have been tapped. However this year volunteers have only tapped about twenty because weather conditions are similar to last year.

“Last year we didn’t really have a flow at all we had a couple of days and that’s about it,” Schmitt explains, “Then the trees needed to start utilizing the sap itself to push out the leaves.”

Tapping the trees takes a few tools and a little elbow grease. But before beginning you have to find the right spot.

“You want to kind of look at the tree and see if it looks healthy. You want to tap the tree six inches from a previous tap,” explains Schmitt.

After drilling, hammering in the spile it’s time to place the bucket on the tree. Once the warmer temperatures arrive sap will begin to flow.

But it takes a lot of sap to make just a little maple syrup.

Schmitt says, “About 50 gallons of sap equals about a gallon of syrup. You have to cook it and cook it down to get to the syrup but the outcome is worth it.”

It’s a long process.  The sap from this year’s harvest won’t make its way to the table until next year.  The maple syrup will be used at the annual pancake breakfast on February 28th at Bellbrook Middle School.

A little help from mother nature, some hard work and patience all leads to sweet success.

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