It’s no surprise with the ever emerging COVID-19 pandemic that we are concerned about the community spread here in Cook County.
For the sake of our family’s safety and the safety of the coming harvest, we respectfully and strongly discourage all visitors wishing to visit our sugar bush and the production center until further notice.
Know that we appreciate your enthusiasm for our maple syrup, we promise to produce the very best our little farm has to offer and look forward to visiting with you once this crisis has passed.
Of course fun updates on our progress will be made here on our site, and our Instagram page @sawtoothmaplesyrup.
Thanks kindly, be well, practice social distancing, and say a prayer for a swift end to this horrible disease.
Greg, Kirstin and Chris The Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup Company
Get inspired by the awesome beauty of the North Shore. Peak fall colors are unfolding into the landscape daily! Take a morning walk/run/bike/drive before breakfast and breath the maple tree’s yellows and reds. Here’s a calendar of events: Visit Cook County
The weather hasn’t cramped our style, but winter sure can wear on. Spring spout pulling on our farm commenced six days ago and we have another 4 – 6 days to go before we wrap up the 2019 season. Today’s snow storm, which carried the potential to drop a foot, produced the perfect reason to take a break. So here’s a little update:
There have been some fabulous days to be working outside. Spring observations show Blood-root making it’s appearance along with fiddle head ferns. Birds of many varieties not normally seen in the winter watch us as we scurry through the forest racing the black-fly bloom.
What’s most obvious however, is the rush of water in the creeks and valleys that we work. Wednesday was a day spent working a hillside facing the Poplar River. Quite the roar pervading our minds to the tune of a spring rush and the onset of summer.
Enjoy this little video I shot a few years ago of the Cascade River storming it’s way down to Lake Superior. Illustrated with music by Kenny Logins and Jim Messina – “Watching the River Run”. Enjoy your weekend!
Our weather has and continues to be cooperative. Even though our temps have plummeted to teens and single digits at night, the weather also allows us to take much needed rest between the runs. And Wednesday (3/27) looks to be the beginning of a big run of sap.
As of today (3/26) the current sugar content to date has jumped to 3.0 and we have nearly made 1,000 gallons of maple syrup over the course of the last four boils. Dark Amber has been the dominant grade since we started, a very mapley taste and aroma with a delicate finish, like butterscotch.
Our biggest news for 2019? We took delivery on a new and fantastic evaporator (see above). We received it in January when the temps were brutally cold and installed it over the course of the months that we tap trees and prepare the sugarhouse for harvest. And now, we are making maple syrup!
In other news … we are excited about a newly released beverage featuring our genuine Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup Company organic maple syrup. It was developed by Duluth Cider in Duluth Minnesota and can be enjoyed at their new cidery in Duluth.
It’s the truth! For those of us who live here in Lutsen, a sign is not needed to show us where we can see the fall display of beautiful maples and other deciduous trees amongst the evergreens. If you haven’t made a sojourn to the North Shore … you’re dawdling and time is of the essence. Start your migration soon …
The forest service has placed numerous signs around the Arrowhead that indicate driving routes that pass you through locations of seasonal splendor.
For the new and veteran leaf peeper, the Minnesota DNR has a wonderful resource for when is a good time to see the Fall colors here in Cook County. Check here for more info! Fall Color Tour signs are placed along some of our most popular routes in the Tofte/Lutsen and the Gunflint area, Tour maps can be downloaded online or picked up at the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Stations.
Here is a list of Fall events and fun things to do when you visit
The Art Along the Lake: Fall Studio Tour
September 28 – October 7. Will feature a variety of unique handcrafted works created in Cook County. Fall in Cook County is a time of tumultuous beauty, so take some time to explore the colors and meet artists during the Fall Studio Tour! Stops include home studios as well as galleries with guest artists. All locations will be open daily, from 10am-5pm, with a few special Fall Studio Tour events scheduled outside of these hours.The Art Along the Lake Fall Studio tour is the second of two seasonal Art Along the Lake events here in Cook County and has replaced the Crossing Borders Tour which had been ongoing for 20 years. See the schedule here!
Lake Superior 20/20 Studio Art Tour
September 28th – 30th, 2018.The Lake Superior 20/20 Studio Art Tour offers visitors a variety of artistic talent to peruse while enjoying the autumn splendor of Minnesota’s North Shore.
Glass, ceramics, woodwork, painting, printmaking, jewelry, sculpture, and photography, will be exhibited, demonstrated, and offered for sale on this tour. Many sites are providing hands on activities. Click here for more info.
Lutsen Community Potluck Celebration October 9th, 2018, 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the Lutsen Townhall on the Caribou Trail. Bring a dish to share and an enjoy prizes, fun and food!
Live Radio at the Winery in Lutsen WTIP Radio, along with the North Shore Winery and Sawtooth Mountain Cider House, invite you to experience live, local radio on the North Shore! Join us on Friday, October 19 and be a part of the fun. The event begins with music by Gordon Thorne at 4:00 pm, leading up a live broadcast of WTIP’s variety show, the Roadhouse, from 5 – 7 p.m. The excitement continues with Small Change, your favorite call-in trivia program from 7 – 8 p.m. Hosts will be taking answers live from the Barrel Room at the winery, or over the phone. This event is free and open to all. There will be special WTIP membership incentives offered–including guided wine and truffle tastings during the Roadhouse!
Moose Madness in Grand Marais
October 19th – 21st, 2018. Throughout Moose Madness weekend, there are activities for everyone. Activities range from the athletic to the artistic and kids will win “moose bucks” to spend on prizes when they do scavenger hunts, races and arts activities around town. Check here for more info!
There are so many other fun and inventive things you can do while you visit the Fall colors of Cook County. Click here to be even more inspired! And don’t forget to visit Wild Country Maple Syrup as part of your fall tour of the North Shore this season.
Shall we move on from our 2018 harvest? Why not lets have some summer, and at the end of this post please enjoy the May 5th video of our final day at the evaporator as we pull off the last of the 2018 maple syrup crop. It’s always an event … Speaking of events, I’d like to add something fun and exciting to your summer calendar.
Most prominently on July 15th Fulton Brewery is hosting a fun event at their campus called “Beers and Brunch”. It’s a brunch featuring their newest and brightest brew that features (our) maple syrup and locally roasted Fika coffee. Yes you heard correctly and both products are infused in to their beer which hails from our little hamlet of Lutsen Minnesota. Behold Sawtooth Maple Syrup, and Fika coffee together in a breakfast blend event sure to be ground breaking. Make your reservations, then get to the Fulton Tap Room and enjoy an amazing beer with your brunch, and of course buy some of our maple syrup while you’re there. Kirstin from Sawtooth Maple will be present to help you get your maple on!
Now, if you’re a local, or happen to be on the North Shore July 13 – 15. You need to stop by the “Hopped Up Caribou Beer Festival” in Lutsen Minnesota. There are just 9 days left from today to make your reservation and enjoy a weekend in the Sawtooth Mountains. It’s next to my favorite snowboard runs at Lutsen Mountains – enjoy a craft made oat soda slope side. Yes, it’s an awesome event!
Granted that not everyone is into beer, so in Grand Marais on July 14 and 15, we encourage you to come enjoy the Arts Festival sponsored by the Grand Marais Art Colony. Featured on the harbor and all along Wisconsin street, enjoy the cobblestone beach and all the wonderful artisans who come to feature their craft and wares. Visit https://www.visitcookcounty.com/event/grand-marais-arts-festival/ for even greater detail.
If I may also mention that there are some awesome accomodations to enhance your stay along the shore. Who better to help you find some of the most lovely properties to get your summer groove on than Cascade Vacation Rentals , with over 200 cool locations to stay on Minnesota’s North Shore.
So for July, that’s our update. And as promised here is a short video of our final day of boiling shot back in May.
At least for northern Minnesota we are indeed experiencing a repeat of earlier season weather. However for the Sawtooth Maple Syrup gang there hasn’t been much of an interrupt – we never did got off our snowshoes.
Hello everyone, here is our sugarbush update!
We have indeed been making pure maple syrup, and the lovely bottle shown below is evidence of what we have been making. This sample was pulled off the pan on Friday (Apr13) and is a medium amber with an incredible flavor I call “immaculate maple”, and graced with the color of a fine Cognac! Click the image to get the full experience.
For those interested in the finer details, the sugar content (s.c.) was at 3.2 on April 13th and has been averaging 3 throughout the season. Our highest s.c. recorded for 2018 was on April 10th at 3.6 and our lowest was 2.1 on March10th. We have had five boils since March producing an estimated 60% Dark Amber. It’s a popular color you know …
Yes it has been a long season, even though for some or most sugar makers the sugaring season hasn’t really started. We expect to see real results this week as the temperature trend is swinging up to the low to mid forties for daytime highs and freezing temps at night – perfect!
On another note, I owe a heart-felt apology to the Yellow-Bellied Sap Sucker. In my last post I reported some of the issues we were experiencing in the field. Namely the bird bites on our spouts and we discovered the real culprit to be the Hairy Woodpecker (see below). Seems our white spouts have been mistaken for bits of suet (my thinking). We really don’t know for sure what’s driving them to hammer out hundreds of spouts. We’ll take any hypothesis you may have and a solution to the problem will get you rewarded with a pint of the above “immaculate maple” syrup. At any rate, I’m sure the sap-sucker is relieved to be acquitted of all charges.
Though there seems to an extension of Winter, we don’t really believe spring has been cancelled and with this recent snowstorm, the trees will be on ice for a little longer making our season a little sweeter. Stay positive on your sugaring front, my gut tells me we’re all going to have a wonderful harvest.
“The birds are back!” came the call over our text message communication thread.
Look closely at the side of the spout. Holes are pecked by the sap suckers causing vacuum leakage.
Of the many challenges to bringing in the harvest, it is the pests we encounter that makes the relatively short season a bit of a trick. In this case it’s the Yellow-bellied Sap Sucker causing our headaches this season, and they don’t like our spouts in the trees. It’s not just one or two spouts to be replaced but up to 30 in any particular section. However, the trouble is short lived, maybe a week of inconvenience and the birds move along.
At this point the squirrels have been easier to deal with.
In production news: Sugar making on Sunday (3/18) produced 275 gallons of finished syrup … a very mapley flavor as it came out of the pan. So we are off to a good start!
Day to day the sun’s intensity can be felt as we struggle through the snow checking lines and tuning the sugarbush to its best ability. The snow pack is deep, but is also transitioning from a hard pack to a mashed potato consistency. The question before donning our gear and tackling a section of the sugarbush may be: “Snowshoes? Or no Snowshoes?”
You may think with some of the warmer days we have experienced there would be more of a sap run, but the trees have not wanted to budge here on the shore of NE Minnesota.
These transitional days from winter to spring are the most difficult, but we’ll find our rhythm once we are past the start-up pain and get on with the business of producing 100% pure maple syrup.
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