Sap is running slow this year, but crowd comes out for Vergas event
Spring 2007 won't be a banner year for maple syrup production in Vergas. Despite the poor weather, for maple trees and humans alike, the Vergas Community Club was no doubt pleased with another banner year for the town's 8th annual Maple Syrup Fes...
Spring 2007 won't be a banner year for maple syrup production in Vergas.
Despite the poor weather, for maple trees and humans alike, the Vergas Community Club was no doubt pleased with another banner year for the town's 8th annual Maple Syrup Festival.
The community center was packed for half the day, as the community club served the traditional pancake breakfast--with genuine maple syrup, naturally. More than 1,000 were served, which is comparable to most years--despite the rainy, dreary weather.
"We served 1,150 at the breakfast. I think the fact that it was cold and rainy worked in our favor," said community club president Melissa Bunkowske.
It was a damp run for those participating in the 5K Maple Syrup Run. Participation was down for the running event, with 67 runners--compared to about 100 last year.
At the loon park in Vergas, more than 300 kids scrambled for 3,000 eggs at the Saturday morning Easter Egg Hunt.
Out in the woods surrounding Vergas, four "Sugar Houses" were open to the public during the festival: Donny Greenwood's sap and syrup operation on Sybil Lake Road; the Andy Peterson and Dave Puetz sugar house east of Vergas on Hwy. 228; Stu and Corrine Peterson's operation, near Galaxy Resort; and Jake's Sugar House.
Maple sap runs for a narrow, two week season, on average, according to D. Mae Ceryes, Jake's Sugar House. Production at Jake's will be down considerably from its record year of 360 gallons of finished maple syrup.
The season is winding down, and so far, only 25 gallons have been bottled.
"As soon as the trees bud, the season's over," said Ceryes.
Ideal weather for maple syrup is moderate daytime temperatures of 40 degrees, with overnight temps falling to 20 degrees.
Sap wasn't even flowing at some of the sugar houses, noted Bunkowske. "But this cold snap could help the producers, because the temperatures need to get lower overnight," she added.
Vergas is situated within a narrow band of native maple trees--extending from Walker down to Alexandria to the Twin Cities, said Jerry Jacobson, of Jake's Sugar House.
At least 25 core volunteers organize the Maple Syrup Festival, said Bunkowske. "We're all really pleased with the support of the community, and the businesses all reported a good day," she added.
Winning the community club's drawing for the custom-made furniture was Colleen Hoffman, Fergus Falls.