WDC third-graders learn how maple syrup is made at Sebeka sugar shack
Wadena-Deer Creek third-graders enjoyed a "sweet" experience touring Les Schwartz's sugar shack last week near Sebeka.
Seventy-nine third-graders boarded two school buses and traveled to Schwartz's beautiful wooded acreage southeast of Sebeka where he's been tapping about 300 maple trees this spring. It was quite a sight to see all the white 5-gallon buckets hanging from the tall trees.
Students watched Schwartz demonstrate how he uses a hand-held drill to bore a hole about 1½ inches into the tree and then inserts a metal tap. The sap is clear in color and tastes like sugar water. Schwartz said there's only about 2 percent sugar content in the sap.
Students were able to watch the fresh sap bubble and boil in a large stainless-steel tank as the boiling process causes the water to evaporate. A steady cloud of steam rose from the hot liquid.
Students also learned it requires a lot of work to make maple syrup. Schwartz said it takes 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup. Students also learned that sap runs before the leaves bud when the days are warm and the nights are cold.
"We enjoy having kids come out and see this. Kids don't get a chance to experience this," said Schwartz, who is in his seventh year of making maple syrup on his Sebeka property.