Maple syrup season underway at Scheer's Sugar Shack near Suring

Scheer's Sugar Shack crew near Suring, March 12, 2018 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

OCONTO COUNTY (WLUK) -- A sure sign of spring is a sugary sight.

Maple syrup being made across Northeast Wisconsin.

Miles and miles of bubbling sap move through a plastic pipeline in the woods near Suring. At Scheer's Sugar Shack, the middle of March is the sweetest time of the year.

"When the weather gets right. It has to freeze at night, and get warm, around mid-40s during the day. That would be a perfect day," said Scott Scheer, Scheer's Sugar Shack.

The Scheer's tap about 900 maple trees. They say this year is a little behind the previous two, when relatively mild winters pushed the season ahead.

And in addition to the somewhat sluggish spring, the Scheer's say theyr'e still recovering from last summer, when strong storms raced through their property.

Scheer says straight-line winds toppled hundreds of maple trees, along with about a third of a typical season's production.

"We had to take all the pipeline down, and remove all the fallen trees, and that took all fall. And now, we just got back into production last month," he said.

Just in time for maple syrup season.

"Usually it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup," said Scheer.

Scheer says so far, the sap is running sweeter, so he won't need as much of it to make the syrup. Over the five-week season, Scheer says this state of the art evaporator could produce about 500 gallons of fresh maple syrup.

"The bottling and the labeling, that's the end where I do the bulk of my work. And we have a crew, like my mom and dad, and my relatives, help us in the kitchen," said Kim Scheer, Scheer's Sugar Shack.

The Scheer's sell their syrup on site and at local grocery stores too.

"It's the sweetness, I'll be honest with you. In the spring, people just rave over it," said Scheer.

Scheer says there are many uses for syrup beyond pancakes.

He suggests a topping for oatmeal and ice cream.

He says there is even a recipe to use it as part of homemade lemonade.

Wisconsin's typically the 4th largest maple syrup producing state.

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