MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Warmer temperatures are in the forecast this weekend, and that means maple syrup farmers are gearing up for the sap to flow.
At Somer-skogen Sugar Bush — a family owned and operated maple syrup farm in Minnetrista — miles and miles of lines across the 17-acre property are waiting for that sap to start flowing.
Don Somers says it all began 25 years ago as a hobby with his son.
“We found some spiles in a shoe box and my son and I built a little barrel stove, and we just liked to get out,” he said.
Their hobby grew into a labor of love with a thousand taps, seemingly endless lines that collect the sap to a large tank. The sap gets pumped up to the sugar house where they proccess it.
Somerskogen Sugarbush has been all over the world.
“She was heading back to Paris, so she bought some of our little three ounce bottles,” Mary Somers, Don’s wife, said. “We’ve brought maple syrup over to friends in Sweden, we’ve had it go to Belize, Hawaii.”
And this year, they’ve expanded with a new line of syrup.
“What we did is we’ve obtained a 53-gallon barrel from Kentucky that has had bourbon in it for nine years,” Don said.
Don says the maple syrup aged in the bourbon barrel comes out with a bit of a char, which is filtered out — leaving a smokey, woody taste.
“Kentucky Bourbon has to have American Oak and it has to be heavily charred on the inside,” Don said.
Another new adventure for their huge operation that began as a little hobby.
“I’m always optimistic about maple syrup,” Don said.
With highs in the 40s expected by the weekend, the Somers are looking forward to seeing sap flowing through their lines again. The sap starts to flow when temperatures are above freezing during the day and below freezing at night.