Rexrode’s Sugar Camp Has Been Making Maple Syrup For Generations
Blue Grass, VA – At Rexrode’s Sugar Orchard in the Blue Grass Valley they have been making maple syrup night and day since early February. For over 150 years, several generations of Everett Rexrode’s family have made syrup on that land. This year, Everett’s grandson Derek has taken over much of the syrup production work.
Derek says they opened most of their trees during the last week of January and the first week of February. He says they’ve been running better this year, with about 3000 trees tapped.
Last year, because of all the snow on the ground in January and February, Rexrode’s was only able to open about 600 trees up on Monterey Mountain. Derek goes on to talk about how this year’s production compares to past years.
“It’s been a good year so far” says Rexrode. “We’ve made probably over 400 gallons. This is the most we’ve made in probably the last six or seven years.”
Derek talks about their method of syrup making.
“Once we collect it, we run it through our reverse osmosis machine; cuts our boiling time about in half” he says. “Then we have the open pan method and we also have the wood evaporator. Both our methods are wood powered. Then we have a propane finishing pan that we also use once we take if off the pans and the evaporator.”
Making maple syrup takes time and you can’t rush the process or the syrup can be ruined.
“Cooking on the open pans is probably around six hours that you have to cook it” he says “to get 15 gallons cook probably six to eight hours; on the evaporator it’s a little bit quicker, maybe three to four hours.”
At Rexrode’s Sugar camp you can see the sugar water being collected from the trees and watch as the water goes through the various stages of the processing. In addition to maple syrup, Rexrodes has barbecue, hot dogs, and maple candy.