Maple Syruping at Shetek!

An Environmental Education Program

Making Maple Syrup at Shetek Lutheran Ministries

Making maple syrup is an exciting pastime that we have enjoyed for many years at Shetek Lutheran Ministries. We anxiously wait for the woods to wake up as winter transitions to spring, watching for signs such as icicles dripping and the geese returning. Once the temperatures are above freezing during the day, and below freezing at night, the sap begins to run within our many maple trees scattered across the Shetek landscape. We collect the sap, boil it down, and make our delicious tap1947 homegrown maple syrup!

How Can I Get Involved? I Want to Learn More!

We offer a wide variety of programs and events that focus on making maple syrup, from field trips to our annual Sugarbush Pancake Breakfast. Take a look at the following options to see which would work best for your family or organization!

For Interested Individuals and Families

Interested in learning how to make maple syrup on your own? Look no further for opportunities to experience the fun of tapping trees and boiling off your own homemade syrup! Classes are offered every spring that focus on every facet of harvesting sap and making syrup!  Contact Katie to set up your tour or class – or 507-763-3567.  Payment is due upon registration and can be paid over the phone.

Our annual Sugarbush Pancake Breakfast was postponed from Sunday, March 24, 2024 from 9am-1pm to Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 9am-1pm.  Come enjoy pancakes/syrup, sausage, cheesy eggs, juice cup and fruit – free will donation.  


And, if you’re feeling philanthropic, we are always excited to have extra hands making maple syrup off-schedule (our EE Director’s family works day and night harvesting and boiling during the short Sugarbush season!). Individuals and families alike are welcome to visit us and volunteer. Please call Katie at 507.763.3567 or email to give of your time and muscles! 

For Schools and Organizations

Schools and other organizations are welcome to schedule field trips at Shetek Lutheran Ministries focused on making maple syrup. We learn experientially at camp and so classes will learn about identifying maple trees, tapping trees and harvesting sap, running the evaporator, and all about the bottling process during your stay at camp. Field trips will generally follow the same schedule of activities.  Maple Syrup Field Trips are available for students PreK-12th grade, homeschool families, scout groups, 4H clubs, adult community centers, and more! All field trips are ONSITE due to the unique nature of making maple syrup. What will you experience during your visit? Buckets. Lots of 5-gallon buckets. All jokes aside, you will see a working maple farm! You’ll use your senses to explore camp as we make maple syrup. See our taps, smell the wood smoke from the evaporator, touch the rough tree bark, hear the steady drip of sap into the buckets, and taste our amazing pure maple syrup! Field trips include tree identification, tapping demonstrations, syrup taste tests, a tour of our Shetek Sugarbush, and so much more. Come prepared to be outside – warm winter gear with layered clothing is a must! Bring extra socks and cozy boots that can get wet and muddy for hiking through the woods.

Days/Hours: Monday-Friday March 11th – April 12th, 10am-1pm
Field Trip Itinerary: Welcome/Orientation, Maple Tree Science, Lunch & Free Play, Maple Syrup Making – All Maple Syrup field trips and programs will follow this itinerary.
Ages 4 and over: $8/person; Ages 3 and under: FREE!
Evening & Weekend programs can be available on a very limited basis. Please call Katie at 507-763-3567 for all program inquiries.

The Shetek Maple Trees

Shetek Lutheran Ministries offers five different species of maple trees, all of which are good to tap for harvesting sap. Most prominent are the large and old silver maples, with their thin and narrowly pointed leaves and flaky, silvery bark. We also have a scattering of sugar maples, distinguished by their thin bark and exceptionally colored fall leaves, and Norway maples, known best for their thick canopy of broad, deep green leaves. Shetek also features a few red maples and a decorative hybrid known as the Autumn Blaze. Most of these trees are tapped on a rotation at Shetek, as we just don’t have enough time and resources at this time to tap and harvest sap from all 125 maple trees at camp! 

tap1947 Maple Syrup: The Process Behind the Product

Our maple syrup is created using the sap harvested during our annual run at Shetek. We harvest the sap using power drills, steel taps, BPA-free plastic tubing, and food-grade 5-gallon buckets or 1-gallon jugs. The sap is then boiled off over two custom-fabricated evaporators in large stainless steel pans. The almost-syrup is brought into our commercial camp kitchen for final processing, filtering and bottling. We currently average making 30+ gallons of delicious maple syrup every year, and as we become more efficient with harvesting and evaporating, our product yield will increase as well.  All profits go back to our Environmental Education program to continuously improve our maple syruping events, equipment and resources.

( Donations are encouraged to support the program, if you’re so inclined! )

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