UpNorth Minnesota Spring 2021 - Page 28

In 2020 , they tapped between 400 and 500 trees and harvested nearly 4,000 gallons of sap that were eventually turned into 97 gallons of syrup . It typically takes between 35 - 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of finished syrup .
The Worms sell their maple syrup in 8-ounce , 12-ounce , 16-ounce , one quart and one gallon jars . It is available for purchase at the Clayhill Farm and Forest gift shop , as well as in gift shops at the Northland Arboretum in Baxter and the Ruttger ’ s Resort near Deerwood . Price ranges from $ 6.50 for the 8-ounce jar to $ 65 for a gallon of syrup .
Maple syruping has a long history in Minnesota . Records show the Ojibwe people , Northern Minnesota ’ s native Americans , have been tapping trees and turning the sap into sugar for centuries . They didn ’ t traditionally turn it into maple syrup , however . Instead , they boiled it down into granulated sugar , which was used as the primary seasoning in food .
Pretty much since their humble beginnings as maple syrup harvesters in 2009 , the Worms have been inviting school groups , and others to visit the farm during harvest season to learn the insand-outs of what it takes to make what Harry Worm calls one of the tastiest treats on Earth .
Tours of the Clayhill Farm ’ s maple syrup operation are free and offered daily during sapping season . The farm is located at 12607 Red Pine Road , Brainerd , MN 56401 . For more information about maple syrup-making tours , call 952-250-5366 , or check out Clayhill Farms ’ Facebook page : Facebook . com / clayhillfarmandforest .
As soon as the maple syrup season comes to an end , the Worms are among those who head into the woods to seek out another tasty treat : mushrooms . “ Over the past five years we have learned to identify about a half dozen edible mushrooms and what a wonderful , wonderful
SPORTING GOODS treat they are ,” said Judy Worm . “ When they are harvested directly from the woods and sauteed in a little bit of butter they are heavenly .”
The varieties Judy Worm says are plentiful in the woods of Northern Minnesota include Chicken of the Woods , which has a lemony , meaty taste ; Hen of the Woods , which has an earthy and spicy flavor and a woodsy scent ; and Chanterelle mushrooms , which are meaty and chewy and have a peppery taste . All three grow on dead or dying oak trees . Oyster mushrooms , meantime , which some say taste like seafood , grow on dead or dying aspen or popple trees .
“ We like these varieties because they are plentiful and unmistakable . There are no imposters that look like them ,” said Judy Worm .
The Worms recommend that before venturing out in the woods in search of mushrooms , like they did you take a class first . One is offered regularly by the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd . Learn more at Northlandarb . org , or by calling 218-829-8770 .
Maple syrup and mushrooms aren ’ t the only bounty nature has to offer those who venture Up North . Shortly after the sap starts flowing , the strawberry plants start flowering . The early varieties , known as June bearing strawberries , are typically ready to pick on the last day of June , or in early July in Northern Minnesota .
1800 1st . Ave . N . E . Little Falls • ( 320 ) 632-9240
Calvin Wallin , owner of Wallin Berry Farm , has been growing strawberries on his U-pick farm three miles east of Nisswa on County Road 18 since 1979 . Wallin Berry Farm also grows raspberries and blueberries .
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