MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – Most Yoopers know the sweet, delicious smell of maple syrup. But, how exactly is it made?
For Bob Bess, founder of White Bear Maple Products, it involves 650 maple trees, 2,000 feet of tubing, and a whole lot of snowshoeing on his 133 acred lands.
Each tree is tapped with a line of tubing. Once temperatures are warm enough for the sap to start running, the sap goes through the tubes, enters one main tube, travels through a vacuum and into a large storage container. From there the sap is placed into a feeding container, that is connected to a machine that boils and separates water from the sap.
The syrup is drained out a valve, brought to a final panning tray, then filtered and bottled.
What started off as a hobby, has become what Bess claims to be an “addiction.” He dreams to retire from the mine in the next two years to fully dedicate his time to producing and selling his maple syrup.
“Oh, I love it. It’s a lot of work. A lot of people always tell me ‘Oh, pure maple syrup is so expensive.’ Well, they don’t know what goes into getting that bottle of maple syrup. But it’s something you have to have a love for. I mean, I love to go out in the woods, It’s fantastic, you can’t beat it,” said Bess.
Bess and his crew at White Bear Maple Products sell many different types of maple products on their Etsy website. Along with select local grocery stores and campgrounds.