The sap is running. No, not the village idiot that has cabin fever and runs through the woods in nothing but his flannel pajamas. The sap from Maple trees, of course. Sap will run for approximately 15 hours after it thaws, then it waits for the next cycle to run again. The folks at the Sugar Shack in Maple City offer free tours and tasting. They eagerly anticipate this annual ritual so they can process gallon after gallon of the sweet stuff.
The sugar house is set in the rolling, wooded hills south of Glen Lake. The farm consists of pumping stations, miles of tubing, and the sugar house with its country store at the front. Miles of tubing and a huge stainless steel evaporator help to boil 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup. If you think you have had real maple syrup, check the label on the grocery store syrup. Chances are there isn't even a drop of real maple in its contents.
If you go: The Sugar Shack is located 15 miles west of Traverse City. From M-72 turn north on Fritz Road and in a quarter mile turn west on Baatz Road where the farm is 1.5 miles on the left. During syrup season and summer the store is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and until noon on Saturday. Tours and tasting are free.