Viewfinder: A North Madison Sugar Shack

'Tis The Season For Maple Sugaring

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.

Sarah Page Kyrcz February 20, 2011 at 05:24 PM
What a wonderful piece about a very interesting hobby. Just love the pictures...they tell the story beautifully.
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 20, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Thanks Sarah. Tony did do a great job. We hope to have more Viewfinder features from him in the future.
Michele Cahill February 20, 2011 at 07:09 PM
This story brings back wonderful memories of my sugaring as a child in North Madison! My dad would tap our maple trees on Summer Hill Road and we would ride around on his tractor collecting the sap. My mom boiled it in the kitchen....what a mess it made! We also had a terrific janitor at High Hill Elementary School (a.k.a. Ryerson Elementary; Mrs. Ryerson was our principal) who tapped the trees on the school property. As a class, we would gather around the tree and watch him collect the sap. Such terrific memories. I encourage all of you to take your children to a sugar shack....you'll never forget the lovely smell of the maple syrup cooking! You can enjoy the maple sugar experience at Bauer Park on March 5th from 10 - 11:30!
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 20, 2011 at 07:52 PM
That Bauer Park event sounds like fun! Thanks for that great little story about your dad, your mom, and that terrific janitor at High Hill ... =)
Michele Cahill February 20, 2011 at 08:42 PM
I wish I could remember his name; I believe he was with the Madison school system for years! Maybe someone else remembers....
Carolyn Rotermund February 20, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Love the photo's!
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 20, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Thanks Carolyn! In that first one, you can almost smell the maple, can't you? Michele, I bet someone does ... I'll have to ask around ....
Christopher Jennings Penders February 20, 2011 at 10:18 PM
Wasn't Maurice Massee was, Michelle?
Michele Cahill February 20, 2011 at 11:23 PM
Mr. Massee doesn't ring a bell....perhaps it was Mr. Field?
Christopher Jennings Penders February 21, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Hi Pem: There's also a maple sugar event THIS Friday, the 25th. Will be there w/my friend Jocelyn, Ruggiero photographing the event for her food blog. Supposed to rain so I don't know what that's going to do to the event.
Christopher Jennings Penders February 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM
How bout Mr. Dahlberg?
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 21, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Thanks Chris! When the photos go live, can you let us know! Would love to see those. Here's hoping it won't rain. Friday is still a long way off, so maybe the weather will shift ...
Hart April 22, 2012 at 11:51 PM
too bad this was such a poor year was looking forward to more of the story


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something