Jerry Gerletz learned about maple sugaring forty years ago while helping out an elderly friend in Vermont. Today he is in his second year of boiling down his own harvest in a sugar shack on property he shares with his wife Sandy in North Madison.
He enjoys the process as a hobby and a passion and has a flexible part-time work schedule as a civil engineer that allows him to tend to the process when the sap is running. The process runs for as many weeks as the maple sugar is flowing and is fairly simple once the right equipment is in place. "It's not brain surgery." says Gerletz.
It takes about 40 gallons of maple sugar to produce one gallon of maple syrup and for the small evaporator Jerry runs, that means about one gallon a day of finished product. He makes many trips collecting the sap from 43 traditional galvanized steel bucket hanging on the mature sugar maples on his property.
Once the maple sugar starts running, it must be collected and boiled for as long as the trees are producing it which can be six weeks or longer.
We know what Jerry will be doing for the next few weeks.