BURTON, Ohio — It is March, and the sun slowly warms the snow-covered landscape of Northeast Ohio. As winter melts into spring, sap begins to rise in the maple trees. Soon the maple groves will be alive with the sound of gathering pails clanging and the steady drip of sap hitting the bottoms of the freshly gathered buckets. On the edge of the woods, steam slowly rises from the sugarhouse.
Step inside and the senses come alive with the sight of steam rising off the evaporator and the smell of wood smoke mixing with the sweet smell of boiling sap. But the best is yet to come as you savor the sweet delicate taste of one of nature’s most unique and irresistible flavors, pure maple syrup. These are the sights and sounds of maple sugaring time in Ohio.
Across Ohio on the weekends of March 4 and 5 and 11 and 12, local maple syrup producers will be inviting the general public to view their maple sugar camps as part of the annual Ohio Maple Drive-it-Yourself tour.
Visitors will have a chance to stop by a variety of maple producing operations. Some are large and others fit in the back yards of their producers homes. You will have a chance to view traditional maple camps where sap is gathered from buckets and ultra-modern systems using miles of tubing, Reverse Osmosis and other technology.
Visitors can pick a couple stops to visit or try to visit all the stops over the weekend. Several camps will only be open on Saturday and this includes all of the Amish stops. When visiting Amish Sugar Camps we ask that you do not use cameras out of respect for the Amish Religion. The tour is free.
You can also pick up tour fliers at the Burton Chamber of Commerce Log Cabin, on the square, in Burton, Ohio, Richard Maple Products in Chardon and at Tour Stops across the state. You can also obtain tour information on The Ohio Maple Producers website at www.ohiomaple.org and on the Maple Syrup Producers of Northeast Ohio Facebook page.
— Geauga County OSU Extension