4454 Atkins Rd
Petoskey, MI 49770
Come enjoy a
See how the sap is formed and transformed into the gooey, delicious sweet treat you put on your food!
Tour available at 4PM every Saturday. No reservation needed.
What to expect
Petersen’s sugar house is paneled in basswood (poor man’s maple), with their stainless steel evaporator sitting proudly like a shiny locomotive. The sharp, sweet smell of boiling sap fills the sugar house as finished syrup flows from the evaporator in a steady stream through a filtering system to remove any sand or solids. Todd and Christi Petersen pour the syrup into little cups for visitors to drink, straight.
How it is Made
Maple syrup production begins with tapping the trees. Sap is the life line of the tree. Each tree is measured so only a small portion of it's nurishment is extracted. The smallest trees must have a 10-inch circumference. Trees are drilled and then a spile (tap) is inserted. Smaller trees have only one tap; larger trees can have two or more taps. The process of drilling 5,000 taps takes three people about four days.
Blue lines are then attached (more than 19 miles of blue plastic tubing) to the spiles and the blue lines feed to a mainline. All lines gravity feed and are drawn by vacuum to the sugarhouse.
The sap, which contains only 2 percent sugar and has the consistency of water, is collected and then flows through a reverse osmosis process, which separates the water molecules with sugar from the water molecules without.
The reverse osmosis is set by the owners to extract 75% of the water. The remaining 25% now has a sugar content of 8 percent. Thus, instead of boiling 2,000 gallons of sap in the evaporator, they will only need to boil 500 gallons of sap.
The sap is boiled in the evaporator and heated to 7 degrees above the boiling point of water. This will produce syrup that has a density of 66.5 brix and 66% sugar content. In laymans terms, they “caramelize” the sap.
The liquid is then run through a filter press to remove the sugar sand (niter) amassed by the tree. It is then hot packed in barrels at a temperature above 180 degrees and stored until it is reheated to be bottled or produced into maple candy and maple sugar.
The process is repeated daily during the harvest season, which can last from three to six weeks. The season begins when the trees start to thaw out at the end of winter and lasts until the trees bud. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup.
Nov. – May Thurs & Fri 12-5, Sat 11-7
Sales (not tastings) available Mon. - Wed. by calling (231) 487-9058.
We'll be happy to assist you!
June – Oct Mon. – Sat 11-6
We are closed on all major Holidays
Pure Michigan maple syrup is a wonderful thing. This all-natural treat is sweet and succulent, just the way nature intended. A great sugar substitute.
Naturally Pure from tap to table!