Maple magic: ’Tis the season for turning sap to syrup

March 23, 2019

The Kistler family legacy is written in the wind, the water and the wood.

The wind and water unlock the sweet secrets of temperamental tree sap as it is percolated into syrup; while the wood – century-old maple trees so tall they disappear into the morning fog – have been carved with the initials of five generations of the nose-to-the-grindstone family.

“My great-grandfather tapped our first tree in 1895,” said fourth-generation owner Ron Kistler, who operates Kistlercrest Farms along with his wife, Susan, and his father, Dan, and their children who make up the fifth generation of the family. “Today we have about 6,600 taps across 70 acres in three locations.”

With maple syrup season in full swing — even a good season will remain short in length — the Kistlers work long days to turn a whopping 45 gallons of sap into one gallon of tasty syrup at their rural Mason County farm, which is located about five or six miles southeast of Ludington. If all goes well, they could produce upwards of 1,500 gallons of syrup in the coming days.

Read the full story in Saturday’s Ludington Daily News print or e-Edition.