The snow begins to melt, the ice to thaw, and the sap rises in the maple sugar trees. We tap the trees, drilling 2 1/2 inches deep and hammer a spout into the tap hole where either a bucket or plastic pipeline that connects each tree is hung. The sap drips into the buckets or flows through the line to storage tanks.
Next, we collect and transport the sap to a sugar house where it is boiled down in large evaporating pans making the thick, golden syrup. It takes about 45 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. The hot syrup is then filtered and packed into storage jugs.
West Virginia has a long history of sugar making. The Indians made syrup first. They threw hot rocks into hollowed-out logs that were filled with sap. The early settler quickly learned to make the sweet stuff and use it as their main source of sugar. Today, maple syrup and sugar are widely used in cooking, baking, and as topping.
Join us for a full weekend of activities celebrating this tradition each year on the third full weekend in March! The 2007 festival takes place March 17-18.
For more information go to: http://www.smilingcountry.com/pickenswv/maplefest.htm