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Maple syrup milestone for Zander's Maple Acres

MANITOWOC COUNTY (WLUK) -- In many parts of Northeast Wisconsin, the sap is flowing.

Producers are in the woods, tapping trees and boiling it all up to make maple syrup.

And in Manitowoc County, one family is carrying on a tradition, one century in-the-making.

From the 60-year-old collection buckets, to the original sugar shack built in the 1930s, Zander's Maple Acres near Two Rivers has a lot of history.

"This is season 100. As far as we can tell, 1918 was the first year my grandfather made maple syrup," said Karl Zander, Zander's Maple Acres.

Karl Zander is the third generation of Zanders to tap trees in the 10-acre sugarbush. He says some of the maples were there from the beginning.

"That one would have been a little sapling at the time when he was starting out. That tree right there has definitely got 100 years on it," he said.

On Wednesday morning, Zander stoked the stove.

"The fire box is hungry," he said.

The fire is inside the newer 70-year old sugar shack.

"Oh yeah, I got a nice boil here now," said Zander.

Zander says this is the first batch of the season.

"It's close, but not quite finished," he said.

Depending on the technique, Zander says cooking can take six hours.

"The rule of thumb is 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup," he said.

Zander says the season could last another month. He says he is proud of his family's maple milestone.

"Oh yeah, all the time. All the time. I think he would be pleased to see that we we're continuing to do it. I know my father would be pleased to see that we're continuing to do it," he said.

Zander says that tradition is reflected in verse, through a poem his Grandmother Esther Zander wrote in the 1940s.

"Come, boys, with busy weeks ahead, Long pleasant hours, few spent in bed. With sunny days, nights freezing clime, We know it's maple sappin' time," he said.

On the weekend of March 18th and 19th, the Zanders say they will have an open house to celebrate the season, and their 100 years of syrup making.

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