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Tapping the maple trees at Sugar Bush

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Emma tapping tree

The maple syrup season is underway in Washington County and ‘yes’ it is a little early. Last week a warm front rolled through the community and folks with maple trees in Richfield, Newburg, Myra and the rest of Washington County started to pay attention.

Lee Krueger lives on Little Cedar Lake. His family has been tapping trees for maple sap for more than 40 years.

In February 2012 Krueger cited his Sugar Bush diary after the state had an unseasonably warm winter.

“The season is way early this year, prompted by warm days and freezing temperatures at night,” he said.
“When we test tapped a few trees on February 18 they dripped so well we went ahead and tapped our whole sugar bush,” he said.

Ben tapping tree
The Krueger’s have tapped trees anywhere from the last few days in February to early March.
In 2006 and 2007 the Sugar Bush produced 175 gallons around March 8.
In 2008 and 2010 the Krueger’s topped out around 90 gallons; a note about a cold spell in March 2010 may be reason for the downturn that year.
Maple syrup farms across the country normally start collecting sap when the trees start budding, usually April or May.

Last week, I reached out to Krueger to see how he was going to roll this year. He said even though the temps were in the 50s they weren’t ready to get moving yet because the equipment was still in the shed. That game plan apparently changed over the weekend.

“Our maple plans changed as we had eight grand kids here and lots of help,” Krueger said. “So we carried maple equipment down from attics and into the woods and we were able to tap 80 trees.”

Krueger said the weather this week looks to be too cold “but, on warmer days (mid-30s and above) we’ll tap the 150 remaining trees and get all the pipes and tubing set up.”

Photos submitted by Krueger show his granddaughter  Emma Krueger tapping a tree with her brother Ahren watching.

The second picture shows Ben drilling into a tree.

Photos courtesy Lee Krueger

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