Did you know it takes roughly 35 gallons of pure sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup? Since time immemorial, Native Americans have been tapping maple trees, and would often arrange their livelihood and camp location based on the maple sugar season. Over the course of several weeks, the sap would be collected and then boiled down into sugar or syrup—and it would sustain the community for the entire year ahead.
In this region, maple sugar season is typically mid-March to mid-April. Sap is stored in the trees’ roots over the winter, and as winter weather and temperatures fade, the increase in pressure causes the sap to flow upward. After a small hole is drilled into the tree, a spile (tap or spout) helps collect the flowing sap. To make syrup, the sap is boiled down to sugar form, filtered, and then bottled.
Staff from Wozupi Tribal Gardens make maple syrup from a nearby woodland that has been used by the SMSC for years, using a state-of-the-art vacuum pump sugaring system. With sap coming from more than 500 local maple trees, the SMSC’s syrup production is done entirely on-site. Employees and Community Members can purchase Wozupi’s maple syrup right down the road at Mazopiya—with a sweet discount to boot!