Farmer Heidi Accola of Roots & Shoots CSA, near Baraboo and Sauk Prairie, takes us into the sugar bush on her farm where she taps about 75 to 100 maple trees each spring.
We learn the process of making maple syrup, from drilling holes for the taps and hanging the sap bags, to hauling the sap to the tractor and trucking it back to the farm, where she cooks it down over wood heat — for days — to thicken it into syrup. The sap-to-syrup ratio is 40 gallons to 1! By the end of Heidi’s tour of her maple syrup operation, you won’t mind paying the “high” price of maple syrup.
Heidi farms 1.5 acres of organic vegetables. Her husband farms 400 acres of conventionally-raised grain. “I spend more time farming my little patch of veggies than he does on 400 acres,” she says, chuckling. Hers is mostly a hand-scale operation.
She also tends about 200 laying hens, raises 400 broilers each year, and keeps bees. In addition to growing veggies, she makes skin care products in the winter. She also cans her excess veggies during the growing season. Everything ends up in her CSA boxes and at her stand at the Baraboo Farmers’ Market.
“I like variety and doing lots of different things,” she says.
She is also very open to involving her 60 CSA families in life at her farm. The Abernathy family came out to help empty sap bags the day we made our recording.
Visit her farm’s Facebook page to learn more:
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