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John Dewine and his daughter Josie look for sap in a sugar maple. Behind them is the "sugar shack," where a large wood-fired boiler evaporates water to create syrup. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

From sap to syrup

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Making maple syrup takes a lot of trees and a lot of heat. About 50 gallons of sap make one gallon of syrup, the thick sweet product resulting after being boiled down. And each tree only yields about two gallons of sap. So explained Michele Burns and John Dewine of Flying Mouse Farms, who showed off their operation on Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road on Sunday.

In their fifth year of production, Dewine and Burns tap 300 area trees to produce their bottled syrups, sold at the Yellow Springs Farmer’s Market and Winter Farmer’s Market.

This season the sap from their sugar, red and black maples started flowing about two weeks early. Freezing nights followed by thawing days move the sap through the trees and into the collection buckets. But with temperatures hovering in the low-30s on Sunday, the sap stayed put and the wood-fired syrup boiler in their “sugar shack” stayed off. The local maple syrup season may be over.


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