It’s time to get sappy! Yes, it’s maple syrup-tapping time again — even in North Carolina! Maple Creek Farm outside of Burnsville, in the mountains, will host its fourth annual Maple Tour on Saturday, Feb. 25, and Sunday, Feb. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. You’ll get to see how maple syrup is made, take a short hike through their “sugar bush,” and meet their donkeys and miniature goats. (Is that the same as a pygmy goat?) Also on hand will be coffee, cocoa, maple popcorn, and samples of syrup on dollar pancakes. Yum! Maple syrup and sorghum syrup also will be available for sale.
Admission is an affordable $5 and kids under 12 are free. Wear boots if you want to hike in the sugar bush – it’s muddy this time of year! For more information and directions, visit www.maplecreekfarm.net.
Here’s a blog posting I wrote about the 2011 event, with photos, and below is the Maple Creek Farm entry from my book “Farm Fresh North Carolina.” It was researched in 2010, and I’m pretty sure Richard Sanders is no longer managing the farm. Otherwise, information should be accurate!
Maple Creek Farm
Though Maple Creek Farm grows vegetables and raises pigs, its claim to fame can be found in its name. The 106-acre farm northwest of Burnsville has the country’s southernmost commercial sugar bush, the name for a grove of sugar maple trees. Since 2007, farm manager and forester Richard Sanders has been tapping sugar maples for syrup every February, starting with a few taps and not much syrup and growing to around 500 taps and close to 100 gallons of syrup. “Up north they tap with buckets, but here it’s way too hilly and rocky,” said Richard. To solve that problem, he has run three miles of tubing through the grove to tap the trees, whose sap flows by gravity. Sanders also grows sorghum cane and makes sorghum syrup every fall.