Monday, February 21, 2011

Tap into the sweet fun!

Guest Post By Jeannie Keating of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture

What comes to mind when you think of March in Indiana? Perhaps college basketball’s March Madness and the Sweet 16?

Get ready to tap into something else sweet:  Indiana’s pure maple syrup!

The melting of winter’s frosty grip is when Indiana’s sweet maple sap starts to flow and the proud tradition of “sugaring” begins!  

Quick stats sure to stick with ya….

Indiana has 154 farms putting out 41,454 taps to produce 8,178 gallons.

A tap is placed in a tree 10” in diameter; however, a tree as large as 18” in diameter can easily produce enough sap to have up to three taps. (Statistics are from 2007; the latest numbers available from the National Agriculture Statistic Service.)

Quick history lesson….

The first maple syrup and sugar makers were the Native Americans of what is now the United States and Canada. The Native American men provided most of the food for the family, but when it came time to make maple syrup and sugar, the women owned and used all the means of producing the maple crop.  In the spring they would travel to the forest where the women would gather the sap from the sugar maples. For Native Americans, sugar-making season time was a great time of festivity and celebration with much dancing and feasting.

And that tradition of fun and festivities continues today!

Quick trip…

Indiana is home to the only National Maple Syrup Festival in the country that is always the first two weekends of March.  And it’s also gotten some national recognition from Jimmy Fallon!
You’ll find the National Maple Syrup Festival festivities nestled in southern Indiana in Medora, Indiana, where Tim and Angie Burton host the event on their family operation, Burton’s MapleWood farm

Attendees enjoy tasty treats made with 100% maple syrup, and if you’ve got a recipe that uses maple syrup, consider participating in the 3rd Annual Sweet Victory Challenge presented by King Arthur Flour, the oldest Flour Company in America.

The Challenge involves a baking and cooking competition where talented contestants in both adult and youth categories create their own original recipes using pure maple syrup and King Arthur Flour in breakfast, dessert or main dishes. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture will again be part of the professional and celebrity judges’ panel with International Program Manager, Sam Krouse, serving as a guest judge on March 5 and Indiana Agriculture Director; Joe Kelsay on March 12.

What else will you find at the festival? Good music, historical reenactments, celebrity guests and
This year there will also be something for your family’s hunting enthusiast: a new Outdoor Wildlife Program featuring guest speakers from the North American Elk Association, experts in Olympic archery. 

Plus, Brian “Pig Man” Quaca, the star of Pig Man: The Series on the Sports Channel , will give viewers and fans an inside look into the hunting trials and tribulations Pig Man faces as he travels the world in search of wild hogs and other species of game.

All net proceeds from the event will benefit the Heads Up!!! Foundation, which will donate the money to the Riley Hospital for Children’s “Camp About Face” at Bradford Woods, a summer program for youths with craniofacial anomalies.

Quick lesson…

How do you make syrup from sap? 40 gallons of sap = 1 gallon of syrup. That’s what it takes to go from sap to syrup. It requiresadelicate combination of craftsmanship, science and patience  to evaporate 39 gallons of water to get a consistency of 63% sugar. But it is tasty and worth it!

And here’s some inside scoop….the Burtons have found a way to capture part of the 39 gallons of the evaporated water and, as a result, have created a delicious product: Maple Water. Last year they introduced this to their Chicago Chefs, and it sold out!  Stay tuned to learn how you can soon enjoy this Indiana product again.

Tapping into the opportunity….

Tim & Angie Burton have tapped into a growing market for their local and delicious maple syrup. And Tim encourages other farmers to do the same.

Tim’s advice, “…to get a market you have to get out there…and build relationships.”

And they have done just that.

The Burtons have accomplished what few have been able to: break into the exclusive Chicago market. They are the first maple syrup producers to be approved to participate in the Chicago Green City Market located just north of downtown Chicago in Lincoln Park. Their syrup is also on the menu at many restaurants in Chicago.  Among them, Chef Paul Kahans’ Blackbird restaurant located at 619 W. Randolph, The Publican restaurant at 837 W. Fulton Mkt., The Signature Room at 95th located atop the John Hancock building and Table 52 located at 52 West Elm Street.

But you don’t have to go to Chicago to get the Burton’s syrup. You can find it at local farmers’ markets, various stores across Indiana or you can order syrup and other items from their Country Store online.  

Want to win our Maple Syrup Festival Prize Pack?

 Maple Syrup, Maple BBQ, Sorghum, Maple Candy, National Maple Syrup Festival Coffee Mug, 4 Wrist bracelet’s for “Free Admission into the National Maple Syrup Festival”.   Bracelets are valid for one of the four festival dates.  March 5-6 or 12-13.

Value: $ 110.00

Just leave a comment on this blog or on our Facebook Fan Page telling us your favorite kind of pancakes. All comments will be entered into a random drawing and announced on Friday morning.


Eric and Amy said...

Chocolate chip pancakes!!!

Nathan Miller said...

strawberry and mascarpone pancakes!

Lana said...

Buttermilk with blueberries~!

Amy said...

The kids and I like mini chocolate chip pancakes, but hubby likes his pancakes with a sprinkling of butterscotch chips!

Ott, A. said...

Don't forget waffles. I love a good waffle!!!

Beverly@Beverly's Back Porch said...

Oatmeal pancakes are the best with lots of butter and maple syrup.

Linda ★ Parker's Paradise said...

Growing up, we had pancakes every morning. I love pancakes!
My favorite are buckwheat! Or buckwheat with blueberries!

Amy Lore said...

Whole wheat pancakes with flax seed meal and walnuts are a standard meal in our house...with real maple syrup, of course!

jeanpass6 said...

Yumm...Buttermilk pancakes with Strawberries! Yummo

birrrd said...

I like buttermilk pancakes with butter and syrup. Yum!