Kelly Farms located in Dexter joined the Saline Winter Farmers Market when it started in November and is gathering a devoted clientele for their delicious maple syrup.
Jane Kelly with her daughter Laura tells us, “We’ve been making syrup for five years right on our own property.” “Between our yard and a neighbor’s yard, we have 220 taps.”
The syrup itself is produced only during the month of March, when Kelly said temperatures are ideal for harvesting.
“Temperatures have to be above freezing during the day and below freezing at night,” she said.
Because of the short time frame, Kelly employs her husband, John, and the couple’s two sons, Jim and Mike, as well as their grandchildren, to harvest the maple sap.
“It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup and we produce 90 gallons of syrup in March—so you can imagine the work,” she said.
A maple tree needs to be at least 10 inches in diameter, which corresponds with roughly 40 years of growth, before it can be safely tapped to collect the sap. Kelly said trees are tapped using a cordless drill and a small plastic spile—a little tube with a spout on one end. The technique dates back to when American Indians taught European settlers how to gash tress for sap harvesting.
“We collect the sap in the evening and process it on a wood burner outside throughout the night and bottle the syrup the next day,” Kelly said.
The syrup sells for $75 a gallon, $25 a quart, $12 for 12 ounces and $8 for 8 ounces.
“It has a great shelf life and it's locally produced, she said.
Nuts coated with maple syrup and toasted are also a Kelly Farm specialty.
For more information about the Saline Winter Farmers Market call Nancy Crisp, Market Manager at 734 429-3518 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at cityofsaline.org/farmersmarket.