Maple syruping on 32nd street
March 6, 2017
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Students from the All Nations Program went out last school year and a couple weeks ago to tap some of the trees in the South High neighborhood. All Nations freshmen, some sophomores, some seniors, and the All Nations teachers were involved in this project.
“I have been doing maple syrup for ten plus years with my family. I have been doing it in a little family farm,” said Mr. Patton, an All Nations teacher at South High. He said he had noticed some maple trees around the South neighborhood. “Where am I going to get this $500-600 to get this operation up and running?” he wondered.
Indian Ed and South High provided some money and equipment, and MPS (Minneapolis Public Schools) department also provided some funds to make this project possible. Maple syruping was a very fun and educational experience for students in many ways.
“It was really fun actually, I enjoyed it more than a lot of other kids… I enjoyed it a lot because I never really got to do stuff like that when I was younger,” said sophomore Evan Lanidan. “I learned the traditional ways of maple syruping,” said Dylan Halberg.
When I asked what she learned, sophomore Sydney Nelson said, “There’s a lot of chemistry to it, so it’s 95% water. So the sap looks like water… When you boil it it thickens up and the water evaporates.” Some students had already done this, but it was new to others. “Up at the reservation we’d do this every spring… I think it was a really good learning experience for kids who hadn’t done it before,” said Nelson. “I can use this in the future to teach other people how to do it, and pass on the traditions,” said Halberg.
The maple syrup process takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. “Ten gallons of sap, will take about from seven o’clock, when I get here in the morning, ‘till 3:10 when I leave,” Explained Mr.Patton. To boil that 10 gallons of sap it takes about 8 hours. “You boil, and you boil, and you boil and after that… you boil some more,” said Mr.Patton. Some of this sap was boiled in Patton’s classroom and he took some home to boil to speed up the process. So it’s a pretty long process, but worth it! He gave me a spoon full of some maple syrup he had in a jar that he had made and it looked thick and clear and tasted very sweet and sugary; it was good.
Lisa Ramirez noticed the blue bags around the south neighborhood and was curious as to why they were there. Mr.Patton explained to her the project he had going on, and Ramirez has connections with Kare-11 so a few weeks back, Kare-11 came and did an article on South’s maple syruping. Patton plans on using the maple syrup for a fundraiser for a field trip to a real maple syrup camp this summer. “We are [going to] try to sell it to our staff members and our students that would like to [buy it],” said Patton “ We are not going to just going to make syrup, we can also make hard candies and cream, maple butter, and all kinds of stuff.”