And now it’s time for Beaver County Memories presented by St. Barnabas Beaver Meadows. In today’s segment, we take a look at the time honored tradition of tapping maple trees and making maple syrup, as the Annual Maple Syrup Festival in Brady’s Run Park draws closer.

Maple syrup, Maple candy, and Maple sugar are all derived from sap that flows inside a maple tree in the later winter and early spring months.  Sap is a clear liquid flow that is common to many different kinds of trees and plants. Aloe Vera plants produce a sap, that when processed, creates a soothing ointment for irritated skin. Other types of sap become food sources for insects in addition to providing nutrients for the plant or tree itself.  But it is the sap of the Sugar Maple tree that is perhaps the most popular. That’s because roughly forty gallons of Maple sap can be boiled down and reduced to one gallon of maple syrup. Sap begins to flow from the bottom of a tree up through the trunk and out to the branches during the freeze and thaw cycle, typically in  January and February for Western pennsylvania. The expanding and contracting of the wood created by temperatures that are higher than thirty two degrees during daylight hours, and lower than freezing during night time, pushes the sap up through the inside of a the tree, almost like a human circulation system. Once springtime is reached, and temperatures stay above freezing during the day and night, the sap will flow no more until next year.

In the olden days, tin buckets would be hung around the trunk of a maple tree, and then they would have to be carried back to the sugar shack, or dumped into a holding tank pulled on a trailer hitched to a horse or tractor before being transported back for processing.  Nowadays, more sophisticated systems of long tubes and pumps that carry the sap from the tree all the way to the boiling vat are much more common.

Maple candy was discovered in ancient times when boiling Maple syrup was accidentally spilled onto the snow on the ground while trying to transfer the sweet liquid into a different container.  The syrup instantly crystallized upon contact with the snow and became a solid that was soon discovered to be a sweet treat.

This year marks the forty first annual Maple Syrup Festival to be held at Brady’s Run park April seventh and eighth.  Typically, the festival is held during the, first weekend in April, as that is when most of the Maple Syrup processing, or the “sugaring” season is coming to a close.   The festival is free to the public and demonstrations on how maple syrup syrup is made will be available along with many other food, craft, entertainment and vendor attractions.  The Maple Syrup Festival is organized by the Beaver County Conservation District and has been a springtime tradition in Beaver County For over Four decades. Make a memory with your family this year by visiting the Maple Syrup Festival at Brady’s Run Park April seventh and eighth.

This has been beaver county memories presented by  St. Barnabas Beaver Meadows. Tune in Every day at this time for another Beaver County Memory, or for a transcript of this and other Beaver County Memories, click the link at Beaver County Radio dot com.