The arrival of springtime in the town of Fennimore has been signaled by the sweetly scented smoke and steam wafting out of the Cooks’ Woods sugar house. Dave and Barb Cook have been drawing many visitors from all over the world to watch the process of making pure maple syrup since 1995. The smell surrounding the property is just amazing, you could just take a piece of pancake, wave it in the air, and that would be enough. OK, I exaggerate but it’s that good!
Dave Cook, the Farm, Part of the Evaporator Machine, and Pints of Syrup
- It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.
- The Native Americans were the first to collect maple sap and make sugar.
- “Sugaring” is the term used for this short season because maple sap used to be boiled down until solid. It was shaved or grated as needed year round.
- To start tapping, a maple tree has to be between 30 and 40 years old. It can produce sap until about 100 years old.
- Each tree can produce about 8-12 gallons of sap per season.
- The season last for about 6 weeks.
- Around 300 different natural flavor compounds have been found in pure maple syrup.
- It can take up to an entire day for the sap to reduce into syrup hence the need for Maple Sugaring parties
The Wood-Fired Evaporator
An addition to their product list this year is maple butter made by Barb. She uses local butter produced at Alcam Creamery in Richland Center. I’m going to go pick up a small tub for myself this weekend! For more information, visit the Cooks’ Woods website. Last but not least, we’ve decided to give away another pint of this wonderful product. It’s a Grade B syrup which I prefer to the Grade A. It has a darker, more complex flavor. You must try it if you’ve only had Grade A. To enter the contest, all you have to do is find one Wisconsin maple syrup producer and link to them on the comment. Please no duplicates. We’ll pick a winner at random next Friday. Let’s support our local and regional producers!