Spring Hiking Through the Sugar Bush
COVID TEST RESULTS - NEGATIVE! Both William and I are happy and relieved for that bit of news. We are back in full-swing, the healthy old fools that we are!
We bottled our third batch of "Sugar Drip Maple Drool" yesterday. Over 160 gallons of sap boiled down into just over four gallons of syrup. That's a 40 sap to 1 gallon of syrup ratio. William figures our sugar content to be just over 2.5% this year. I really don't think about these numbers much, I just want to know if it tastes good! It's delicious.
The syrup is getting darker as the season progresses. By the time we pull our fifth (and usually last batch), the syrup is as dark as molasses. Lots of people think darker syrup has something to do with the cooking temperature, or time cooked, but from what I have read, syrup gets darker as Spring moves along and the trees take up a wider variety of minerals from the soil. In other words, it's the minerals that contribute to the color.
Late season syrup also begins to take on a different taste, and will eventually taste slightly metallic and somehow funky. Old timers say to stop pulling sap when the trees put on buds, but we don't listen! We inevitably cook one last batch each year that turns out to taste weird. That weird tasting syrup would be awful on a waffle, but is fantastic in salad dressings. This syrup with a sort of sweet savory flavor helps create a balance of SALT, FAT, ACID & SWEET that make the taste buds say, "Yum!"
In the store you will find OUR SIGNATURE SALAD DRESSING, Maple Mustard Vinaigrette, made from our farm products: sunflower oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, mustard and salt (salt the only ingredient not from the farm). This is a true example of terrior - the taste of a particular area. Through this dressing you will taste the minerals of the soil that contribute to the unique flavor of each ingredient. The taste of Fransconsin!
HIKE THE TRAILS?
There is A LOT going on in the Maiden Rock & Stockholm area this Saturday. Here's a travel itinerary to guide you.
If you stop out to see us, you may want to hike our fields and trails through the "Sugar Bush." Last week we marked our trails and have maps in the store. We have three trails, two that take you through the maples where you can see our pails in action, and another that takes you out to the BEST VIEW LAKE VIEW. If you are up for a rigorous hike, the two trails through the woods are connected allowing for you to walk up to five miles on trails. Walk the "PINK" trail and you will cover about 3 miles of ground, and our "BLUE" trail is just shy of 2 miles. The only thing you ask if you plan to hike is that you park at the BIG RED BARN and let us know you are here to walk.
I'll post mud updates on our Facebook page to keep you informed as to the status of the trails. Trails will be slick Thursday I imagine, so muddy shoes will be likely.
If timing works out, we will have fresh sap coffee for tasting. We have quarts for sale in the store for $8 each. This is one of the most delectable treats of our TERROIR around. Not to be missed!
Sending LOVE to you all!
PS: If you are planning ahead into April, think about joining me for a Women's Writing Retreat at the Driftless Dirt Farm on Sunday, April 18th (12:45-4:30). Sign up is in the "Farm Events" section of the website and here are the details.
Driftless Dirt Farm Hiking WRITER'S WORKSHOP:
Come gather seeds of writing! Immerse yourself in farmland, Mother Nature and a bit of exercise. This writer's workshop will take you from the Driftless Dirt Farm on a 3-mile hike through woodland trails and down a country gravel road. We will stop intermittently to explore, reflect and write about our ideas that form femininity/what it means to be woman through the lens of Mother Nature. Along the way we will gather seeds of writing that you can take home to explore or continue as writers. We will focus on writing memoir - stories that come from your own experiences - and end with the realizations and understandings of who you are in relation to those experiences or events. No writing experience necessary. $25 per person.
WHAT TO BRING:
Comfortable clothing and walking shoes. (Dress in layers - prepare for weather)
Backpack (comfortable and hands free) for your gear.
Spiral journal or notebook for writing (Spiral makes it easy to control if we write standing up.)
A favorite writing tool collection (pencils, gel pens, felt tip - bring a small variety)
A friend, if you like
Guided inspiration/exercises for writing
COST: $25 per person to be paid at event - cash or check only.