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North Central students learn about tapping maple trees

The students visited Olson Sugar Bush on Thursday.
Olson Brothers Sugar Bush sign.
Olson Brothers Sugar Bush sign.(WLUC photo)
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 8:58 PM EDT
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BARK RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) - Kindergartners from North Central Schools learned all about tapping maple trees today at Olson’s Brothers Sugar Bush in Bark River.

“I went ahead and showed them how to tap a tree, explain to them that we harvest of sugar water called sap out of the tree that is collected, in this case in pails,” said Jeff Olson, co-owner of Olson’s Brothers Sugar Bush. “I showed them our syrup evaporator that was running and we’re making syrup in front of them. They got to see sap coming off of the end, they got to see steam rising.”

The recent freezing temperatures at night and warmer temperatures during the day, this time of year is perfect for tapping maple trees.

“With freeze and thaw, you have an expansion and contraction of the moisture and gases inside a tree, causing negative and positive pressure which causes sap to run,” said Olson.

Olson has been collecting sap for more than 25 years.

“I started making syrup in high school cause I had worked for my uncle who owned this sugar bush and I just took an interest in it,” said Olson.

The sugar bush has about 9,000 taps on a vacuum tubing.

Even though many students say they’ve tapped trees before, they all seemed to have fun watching and, of course, tasting the sap coming out of the trees. The day ended for the students with ice cream topped with fresh maple syrup.

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