According to Native American oral tradition, maple syrup and maple sugar were being made before recorded history. Native Americans in Eastern North America were the first to word for maple syrup, meaning "drawn from wood." The process of making maple syrup is an age-old tradition of the Native Americans, who used it both as a food and as a medicine.
Native Americans and French Canadians "passed on the secrets of "sugarmaking" to the colonists. Maple syrup and maple sugar became the household sweetener in the Canadian and American colonies throughout the nineteenth century, instead of refined white cane sugar, raw sugar, or molasses. Even if production methods have been streamlined since colonial days, they remain basically the same. The sap must first be collected and distilled carefully so that you get the same totally natural, totally pure syrup without any chemical agents or preservatives.
Growing up in the little town of Sherman, in southwestern New York, Lisa enjoyed watching her grandpa "sugarin' it". She remembers the sweet smell of maple syrup in the air as the sap was boiled down into syrup and watching her grandma filter the golden syrup into jugs at the kitchen table. Her grandpa would put the lighter grade syrup in decorative tin jugs to give away or sell, and sell the darker grade to tobacco companies who used the syrup as a flavoring in the tobacco.
When Dennis started their maple syrup production, he used much of Lisa's grandpa's equipment. Now as they have grown and new technology has been installed, The Burke's still have the same goal as Lisa's grandpa: to make delicious, sweet, golden syrup!
With the help of their family, she and Dennis hope to teach their children the "sugarin" process and pray they will continue this family tradition.
DID YOU KNOW...
Maple syrup can only be produced in the region shaded in gray.