Guest Author: Kirstin van den Berg, Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup, Lutsen, Minnesota
Photo credit to Greg Nichols
The days are getting shorter and there’s a nip in the air. With frost warnings around the corner it won’t be long until the Fall color season is in full swing. One of the truly most glorious sights in Minnesota is the red, orange and yellow splendor of Minnesota’s maple trees.
Why do maple leaves change color? In early September, the shortened days and cooler nights signal the trees to prepare for winter. Photosynthesis shuts down, and the masking chlorophyll that gives the summer leaves their green color, fades and gives way to the reds, oranges and yellows. As a sugar maker in northeastern Minnesota it’s my favorite time of year to work among the maples. The forest glows with a warm lightness – from the tallest reaches of the tree crowns to the young saplings at my feet.
All summer long, the maple leaves have been producing sugar and sending it down to the tree roots for storage over winter. When the springtime freeze and thaw cycle starts again in March, the sap will flow from the roots to the upper branches and the maple syrup production season will be in full swing. Due to our maple trees and fine sugar making skills, Minnesota maple syrup has been judged to be some of the finest made in North America with its full-bodied, rich maple flavor. Countless grand champion and first place awards have been earned by local sugar makers throughout the state. Give it a try and you will taste the difference!
Not only for pancakes and waffles, maple syrup can be used in many of your favorite recipes. Use as a natural sweetener in desserts, on oatmeal or yogurt. It’s great in coffee lattes, BBQ sauces, salad dressings, and exotic cocktails to name a few. Its uses are endless.
So why not enjoy the beautiful Fall colors and delicious, award-winning Minnesota maple syrup. You can purchase real Minnesota maple syrup at many local grocery stores, gift shops, farmers’ markets, onsite at the maple syrup producers’ sugarbush or online at their website. Several maple producers are open for tours this Fall. Your purchase of Minnesota maple syrup supports our sugar makers and local farm economy.
Take in the beautiful Fall colors and enjoy locally produced Minnesota maple syrup. From tap to table it’s the best!
A number of maple syrup producers welcome business this fall. Read about a few below, and find an entire list of producers using maple syrup as the keyword in the Minnesota Grown Directory:
- The Back Forty, Janesville, MN ~ Maple syrup sold at their farm located at 63005 172nd Lane in Janesville. Please call ahead at (612) 599-5864 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They also sell choose and cut Christmas trees the weekend following Thanks giving.
- Bell’s Maple Syrup, Cushing, MN ~ They sell at farmer's markets in the Twin Cities. Downtown Saint Paul Saturday's and Sunday's, NE Minneapolis Saturdays, Roseville Tuesday's and Andover Tuesday's. Call (651) 295-2120 or email email@example.com. With a homemade maple syrup cooker given to him by the Bloomington Fire Department Bob Bell tapped his first maple tree in Cushing, Minnesota in 1989.
- Caribou Cream, Lutsen, MN ~ Open onsite Sugar Shack. Located 558 Caribou Trail, which is 2 miles up the Caribou Trail off Hwy 61 in Lutsen. Tours available upon request. Call (218) 663-7841 or visit facebook page. They sell maple syrup, maple sugar, wild rice, maple rub and all sorts of locally made crafts.
- Farmer Doug, Duluth, MN ~ Open for tours with on farm festivals the four weekends in September. Friday afternoons farm stand open on farm. Saturdays will feature tours, pressed cider, pumpkin picking and the farm stand. Also sell at Duluth Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Farm is located at 3361 Lindahl Rd in Duluth. Call (218) 591-0632 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, website farmerdoug.com. They sell all things maple, plus jams, fresh cut flowers and bouquets.
- Hale’s Sugarbush, Cottage Grove, MN. Open onsite store at 11701 Grey Cloud Trail South in Cottage Grove. Call (651) 459-6104 or email email@example.com. They sell maple onsite and at nearby stores and apple orchards.
- Hamel Maple Syrup, Hamel, MN. They sell 100% Pure and Certified Organic maple syrup at grocery stores and gift shops throughout the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Call (218) 370-8061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. A family business that has been making maple syrup and working with local producers since 1982.
- Minnesota Made Mathias Maple Syrup, Grand Rapids, MN ~ Maple syrup sold by free curbside delivery in the local area. Call (218) 259-9838. They sell maple syrup in recyclable glass containers.
- Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup, Lutsen, MN ~ Bulk Certified Organic maple syrup for sale. Call (218) 370-2207 or email email@example.com. Family owned and operated since 1996. Winner of several North American maple syrup awards, Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup Company is the largest organic maple syrup operation in the Midwest with over 26,000 taps.
- Somerskogen Sugarbush, Minnetrista, MN ~ Maple syrup sold online with onsite pickup or at Cathy Mackenthun’s Meat Market in St. Bonifacius, MN. Call (612) 860-2344 or visit their website s at somerskogen.com or mnmaplesyrup.com. Somerskogen Sugarbush is family owned on 17 acres in Hennepin County. Originating in 2004, they have 1,200 taps and produce over 500 gallons of maple syrup per year.
- TimberSweet Pure Maple Syrup, Grand Rapids, MN ~ Maple syrup, maple candy and maple coated nuts sold at the Grand Rapids Farmers Market or by appointment. Call (218) 259-3566 or (218) 326-0614 or message thru Facebook at TimberSweet Maple Syrup. In addition to award-winning maple syrup products, you can also purchase farm fresh apples.
- Wild Country Maple Syrup Co., Lutsen, MN ~ Open, on-site store located at 191 Barker Lake Road, Lutsen, MN. Their store features maple syrup, wild rice and honey. Tours available upon request. Call (218) 663-8010, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website at wildcountrymaple.com. Located in the heart of Superior National Forest, visitors can enjoy the unique Swedish log buildings and beautiful fall colors of the surrounding maple forest.
The views and opinions expressed in guest author articles are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views or opinions of the Minnesota Grown Program or the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.