Originally published in The Journal on April 11, 2018.
Cold nights and warm sunny days are when all of us begin to wake up from winter — including maple trees.
The trees need freezing night temperatures and daytime thaws for pressure to develop in the tree that makes sap “run” or drip out when tapped. Farmers like Stephen Horner collect this sap and boil it down into syrup.
Last week, I had a chance to talk to Stephen, owner of Horner’s Corner, a maple syrup and fruit farm located about 70 miles east of Minneapolis in Boyceville, Wisconsin. Stephen has been “mapling” for over 25 years, and he says the season is just getting underway.
It looks like we are in for a good run for the next week or more. We have great hopes for the season despite the slow start,” explained Stephen. “Historically, March 21 is the average start date for this region. All but one season in the last decade has started well before the equinox.”
You can find Horner’s Corner maple syrup, locally grown root vegetables and spring greens at the Mill City Farmers Market’s remaining indoor winter markets on April 14 and April 28. The Winter Market takes place 10 a.m.–1 p.m. inside the Mill City Museum with over 30 local farmers, food makers and artists.
The sap lines running from tree to tree (above) and the different grades of Horner’s maple syrup (below). Find more photos and updates on Horner’s Corner’s Facebook page!
Stephen and his daughter Finley at the Market.