It’s maple syrup time! We thought you might like to know a little bit about the maple syrup that we carry in our store. It is produced at R & M Farms in Caledonia, Michigan, located just 10 miles from our store. They and previous family members have been tapping trees on their centennial farm for more than 80 years.There are two methods of gathering sap from the maple trees. The traditional method involves spiles inserted into the trees and pails hung under those spiles to collect the sap. The preferred method used by many producers today uses flexible tubing attached to the spiles and a vacuum system attached to those lines. By “sucking” the sap from the trees, the yield can be twice as much as the bucket and drip system. Because it’s a closed system, the sap stays cleaner. Proper tapping methods do not harm the tree. And the labor of emptying all those pails daily is eliminated. All 600 taps on R & M Farms are hooked up to vacuum lines that direct the sap into a holding tank. From there it is pumped up to the “sugar shack” where the 3’ x 12’ evaporator boils the sap until it’s condensed into syrup. It takes at least 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup! That explains why real maple syrup is costly…but oh so good! We just received our first batch of 2015 syrup fresh from the farm! The pints are $10.59, the quarts are $15.79 and the half gallons are $28.59. Written by Kathy VanderStel who visited the shack on March 14, 2015.