Our "Sugar Bush" as maple operations are commonly called is located in Northwestern Wisconsin in the County of Dunn. As a friend of mine with the last name of McDonough said...." the hills of northern Dunn County....are the only ones outside of Ireland that hold me close."
More important to the process than hills is the fact that we have sub-soil types that serious research has determined produces the best syrup. An article in the New York Times
explained how the french wine tasting concept of "goût de terroir" or the 'taste of place' is being applied to the tasting and evaluation of maple syrup. And the author described a taster's reaction in one blind taste test designed to isolate the best sub-soil types:
“I was astonished at the differences,” said one person who attended, Kim Borsavage, who owns a bed-and-breakfast near Shelburne. Ms. Borsavage said she preferred the syrup from limestone bedrock; a good thing, she said, because she gets her syrup nearby and the area is mainly underlined with limestone.She said she was put off, though, by the “moldy” and “dirty” taste of a syrup that came from trees grown on schist bedrock."
And, guess what folks? Our trees sit on limestone! We are pretty darn lucky.
We are in love with the process...we make too much for our own use and decided to make it publicly available on a limited basis. It isn't our full time job but we are serious about what we do.
We learned how to make syrup from our neighbor Mike Robertson whom we helped for three years before tapping our own trees. We hauled our sap to Mike's for two years to boil it before we built our own sugar shack in 2008.
We designed our shack ourselves and started the process by building a scale model. We then logged off 70 large pine trees and brought a mill in to cut the timbers and one inch boards. John Hager of Glenwood City, WI build it. And we are so happy with. It is truly a work of art.
We currently have about 400 taps in about 380 trees spread out over our 80 acres.
Gil and Justine Vernon and Family