BARK RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) - At the Olson Bros. Sugarbush they are preparing over 11,000 taps in hopes of gathering close to 200,000 gallons of sap that will then be turned into approximately 5000 gallons of maple syrup.
And while people may have visions of buckets hanging from trees, that's not the reality of the modern maple syrup operation.
The modern system involves miles of tubing and vacuum pumps.
Jeff Olson, along with his brothers Greg and Mark run the Sugarbush, and Jeff says that almost every operation with over 5,000 taps has gone to a tubing system because it is cleaner and about twice as efficient as the old system.
Jeff Olson says it pretty clearly.
"A clean tubing system, high vacuum, good tubing practices will maximize your sap yield."
But it's not just a good system but also agreeable weather that matters. Freezing temps at night with warmer days are ideal.
"What happens is when the tree freezes you're getting an expansion at a microscopic level. The tree is swelling a little bit. When the tree then thaws the same thing is going on inside the tree on a microscopic level. Freezing and thawing. Expanding and contracting."
In essence the temperature changes help push the sap out of the trees.
Once the Olson's have collected around 5000 gallons of sap, which could easily happen in a single good day, they will fire up their equipment and start making everyone's favorite pancake topping.
"You're buying something that was not only made in the area but it came from the roots of that area too. It doesn't come much closer to home than that."