There are plenty of places throughout Michigan to discover the magic of tapping the trees for some sap! Below is our Ultimate Guide of Maple Syrup and Sugaring Events and Festivals around metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Certainly, March is the perfect time to make some Paczki-inspired pancakes and top them off with some locally-made syrup!
Additionally, you can check out the Michigan Maple Weekend 2023 in Southern Lower Michigan on March 18th and 19th, 2023. Trees will be tapped and sap will be flowing! In fact, you can see how it’s harvested, and then made into the delicious syrup you enjoy. You may also catch a glimpse of maple candy, maple cream, and maple sugar being made. Meet the sugar makers who work their maple magic and support these local businesses by purchasing some of their special sweet treats to enjoy at home.
If you’re looking for some locally-made syrup, Blue Jay’s Outdoors in Oxford and Loncar Sugarbush in Milford produce some of the best! For a map of Michigan’s Sugarbush locations, click here.
Maple Syrup Sugaring Festivals In Macomb County
Maple Sweetness Sugaring – Wolcott Mill Metropark
Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center Maple Syrup Festival (Shelby Township)
Maple Sugaring at Stony Creek Metropark (Shelby Township)
Maple Sweetness Pancake Breakfast – Wolcott Mill Metropark
Oakland County Maple Syrup Events
Maple Sugaring at Indian Springs Metropark – White Lake
Maple Sugaring in Your Backyard – Farmington Hills
Making Maple Syrup at Bloomer Park (Rochester Hills)
MSU Tollgate Farm Maplefest Maple Tapping and Pancake Feast (Novi)
Maple Sugaring at Red Oaks Nature Center (Madison Heights)
Maple Sugaring at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve (Rochester)
Magical Maples at Red Oaks Nature Center (Madison Heights)
Maple Sugaring at Wint Nature Center (Clarkston)
Sap to Syrup Pancake Breakfast at Van Hoosen Museum (Rochester Hills)
From Sap to Syrup at Wint Nature Center (Clarkston)
Maple Syrup Basics at Robert Williams Nature and Historical Learning Center (Davison)
Making Maple Syrup – Bloomer Park – Rochester
A Day in the Sugarbush at EL Johnson Nature Center (Bloomfield Hills)
Sap-To-Syrup Pancake Breakfast – Bloomer Park – Rochester
Maple Syrup Time at Stage Nature Center (Troy)
Maple’s Sweet Story at Kensington Metropark (Milford)
Maple Syrup Events in Wayne County
Maple Sugaring Through The Ages – Oakwoods Metropark – Flat Rock
Making Maple Syrup Tours at Maybury Farm (Northville)
Other Maple Syrup Events Around Southeast Michigan
For-Mar Nature Preserve Maple Syrup Festival (Burton)
Journey to the Sugar Bush at Hudson Mills Metropark (Dexter)
How is Maple Syrup Made?
Find The Right Tree
The best maple trees are often marked in the fall, which makes them easy to spot when it’s time to collect the sap in winter, when the trees have no leaves. Know your maple trees and where they are. Have the necessary equipment prepped and ready to go. Weather must warm to above freezing temperatures for sap to flow. A very rapid rise in temperature (from 25°F to 45°F) will enhance sap flow considerably.
While temperatures remain above freezing, sap will flow at a steadily declining rate for approximately 8 to 15 hours. When it refreezes at night and thaws again the next day, the sap flow will resume at the peak rate and slowly diminish to nearly no flow by the end of the 8 to 15 hour period. Intermittent flow periods will continue for as long as the freeze/thaw cycle lasts.
Tap The Tree
Maple trees are tapped using tools such as a spile or spout. These are placed on the south side of the tree to maximize the tree’s potential sap yield. Sap is collected daily as conditions permit.
Collect The Sap
Collection containers are hung from spiles to gather up all the dripping sap. Because the sap that falls into these containers is 98% water and 2% sugar, 40 gallons of sap only makes one gallon of syrup, so the key is to collect as much sap as possible. Once the weather stays above freezing and trees begin to bud, the sap flow changes composition and is no longer usable. This signals the end of maple production for the season
Boil It Down
Now that the sap has been harvested, the process of transforming the sap into syrup can begin. Water must be removed until the desired concentration of sugar remains. The sap is cooked over a stovetop or fire where the water from the sap is boiled out, leaving behind the sweet sticky sugary syrup we know and love.
Store It Safely
After that, maple syrup is packaged while it’s still hot, then stored at room temperature in a cool, dark space. This ensures the syrup will last for as long as possible.
Eat It Up
Enjoy maple syrup on any number of breakfast foods, like pancakes, waffles, or French toast. Maple syrup may be used as is, of course, or it may be converted into other highly desirable products. Maple sugar, maple candy and maple fudge are just a few of the many other maple products. Basically, these are made by concentrating finished syrup to a greater density and stirring the highly concentrated syrup. Recipes for a variety of maple products may be obtained by contacting the local county Extension office or by writing to the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University.
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