Olson Bros. Sugar Bush

Maple Syrup

For many, nothing is sweeter or more delicious than maple syrup. Perhaps nothing reminds us so much of the crisp U.P. woods; and for Jeff Olson, the breakfast staple strikes the perfect complement to his love of Upper Michigan’s outdoors. Olson, who is originally from Bark River, MI., began making maple syrup 15 years ago. What started as a hobby grew into a business – one that depends on some of the U.P.’s maple trees located in Menominee County. Both the reward of receiving compliments from product admirers and the joy of the process itself inspires Olson. He notes that it simply is not work if you enjoy it, and that is exactly what he does. For Olson, making maple syrup means getting to take pleasure in the outdoors while harvesting a quality product delivered right from nature. For us, it means we get to savor that pure saccharine syrup on the coldest of mornings.

Since syrup is the first agricultural product made and harvested each year, Olson’s process begins in the spring when the temperatures are such where there is a constant freeze and thaw. At this time, maple sap runs aggressively and Oslon taps the trees with a drill bit, a spout or a spile. The sap then drips from the tree into a collect device, usually a bucket or a tubing system. Once collected, Olson boils the maple sap in a pan to evaporator to 66% sugar, at which point it is considered syrup. No preservatives, sugars or sweeteners are added. Only pure sugar from maple trees are used in Pure Maple Syrup. Olson and his family made 3,000 gallons of syrup in 2010, and 4,000-5,000 can be expected for the 2011 season.

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