Fifteen years ago, Bill Tinley learned how to tap maple trees to make his own pancake syrup, and now he is passing the knowledge on to other people interested in the process.
Tinley, park manager at Mistletoe State Park, will hold a Makin' Maple lecture at 2 p.m. Jan. 3.
The program, at the park's learning center, is free with a $2 per-car park admission fee.
This is the fourth year Tinley has held the maple tree-tapping demonstration.
"It started out as a personal interest, and then I said maybe somebody else would like to know about it," he said. "I just decided to start doing the program, and sure enough people show up for it."
IF YOU GO
Directions to Mistletoe State Park:
Take Washington Road to Pollards Corner, which is about 15 miles from Martinez. After passing through the four-way stoplight, make an immediate left onto state Highway 150. Drive about seven miles and turn right onto Mistletoe Road. Follow the road three miles into the park.
He said the process, from tapping the tree to boiling the sap down to syrup form, is simple.
"There's no chemistry involved," he said. "There's no machinery or temperature control. The most complicated part of the whole system is identifying the tree."
Tinley said part of the program will cover how to spot red maple trees, which grow abundantly in the area.
The tapping season typically runs between February and April in New England, the heartland of maple production. Vermont is the nation's largest producer of maple syrup, pouring out an estimated 460,000 gallons of the sweet stuff in 2000.
But the South's warmer climate means that local residents can start tapping their trees now, Tinley said.
He said his program should last about 45 minutes and advised participants to bring umbrellas in case of inclement weather.
Maple Apple Pie
5 cups sliced apples
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt and nutmeg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie
Combine dry ingredients and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of it over bottom of pie crust. Add the rest to apples, along with maple and sour cream and stir. Turn into pie and cover with lattice top. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes longer or until nicely browned. Remove from oven and cool.
Source: Massachusetts Maple Producers Association
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