Sugarhouse rings spring with maple harvest
JONES, MI -- While the 2019 Michigan Maple Weekend was held at the end of the month of March, Maple Row Sugarhouse in Jones, MI celebrated their harvest during the first two weekends with their annual festival. Their Maple Festival is free to the public and invites attendees to enjoy all things maple.
Free bus tours to the woods were available three times on each of the Saturdays. The purpose of the trip was to allow the attendees the opportunity to see how the trees are tapped and try it for themselves. They were also able to see some of the technology being employed in the woods. The buckets are set up with sensors, providing owner Daniel Olson with a continual update on the collections. The information is sent to his phone where he can access it at any time.
“The sensors will let me know how much is in the bucket and warn me when it is getting too full,” Olson said. “When there are only a couple of inches left, there is literally a constant warning alarm going off on the phone.”
Back at the sugarhouse, the technology lesson continued with an explanation about the process the sap goes through to become syrup and how technology plays a part. There are several monitors connected to the various pieces of equipment offering exact information about the particular process. Their reverse osmosis machine is state of the art with very efficient controls as well as energy saving. Olson and his wife Christy explained the process to the attendees and showed them how the equipment looked and its function.
When the lessons were over, breakfast was served with fresh maple syrup and an opportunity to support a local non-profit group. The Boy Scout Troop 409 of Constantine and the CloverBots 4-H club assisted with cleaning and served the pancakes and sausages to the diners. Both groups received funds from the meal to be used for their activities.
Numerous foods flavored with maple syrup were available to purchase for taking home or appreciating at the festival. The lunch menu included brats, hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches, all maple flavored, along with baked beans. Donuts, cotton candy, coffee, and slushies were among the offerings as well as the store’s inventory of all things maple. Maple Row Sugarhouse has a food trailer that offers the numerous maple products they make. They set up at fairs and festivals including the St. Joseph County Grange Fair in Centreville, MI.
Additional attractions were a petting barnyard with calves, a kid goat, and twin lambs along with a couple of French Colonialists demonstrating how syrup was made over an open fire in times past. A woodsy backdrop was available for photo ops to record the memories made. Children and the young at heart were invited to color an original drawing for a contest and Maple Row Sugarhouse cornhole sets were offered for attendees to test their skill.
The annual event is held on the second and third weekends of March. Maple Row Sugarhouse offers maple products on their website year round and have an opportunity for non-profit organizations to make money selling their products. For more information, visit www.MapleRowSugarhouse.com.