OREGON - No need to check
your eyes; if you're seeing buckets on trees in
The Maple Syrup Project is run through the Oregon Park District. They've tapped over 100 trees, collecting the sap into buckets that are checked by volunteers and the project's director, Jon Barnhart - natural resource manager for the park district. This year makes it year three for the program.
"We had sat down at one time and talked about different programs and stuff [for the park district] and this has popped up," said Barnhart.
"We just kind of entertained the idea and the rest is history."
Many of the trees tapped for sap run along Route 64 and there are several on the Ogle County Courthouse lawn. The ones on the courthouse lawn also have historical names on the buckets to identify each bucket. Barnhart says labeling the buckets like, "Abraham Lincoln" or "John Phelps," plays to his love for history and he thinks it makes it fun for everyone else too.
Volunteers go with
Barnhart to collect the sap and deposit into a large collector on a park
district truck that's taken back to where the syrup is made, in a barn right
"I'll add to that [evaporator] for three days," said Barnhart. "It's a continual process of adding to it and condensing it and cooking it down. It's 50 to 1, so most of the moisture has to come off. You want it between 66 & 67% moisture content."
The "Garden Barn", as Barnhart calls it, is open almost every day to the public and that's where you'll find Barnhart most of the time too. He says making syrup is not a job for him but rather a joy.
"It brings back a lot of fond memories for a lot of people, especially the older generations," said Barnhart.
"Not only that, but it shows the younger generation a labor of love and how things used to be years ago."
Oregon Park District hopes to produce 30 gallons of syrup this season which would beat the 25 gallons they made last year. In order to make those 30 gallons of syrup they'll need at least 1,500 gallon of maple sap.
Most of the syrup
will end up at the Annual Oregon Kiwani's Pancake Breakfast but it will also go
up for sale at the
You can see the
maple syrup making process by visiting the