In 1964, Don and Evie Van Deurzen started producing maple syrup with about 100 taps. They tapped their trees using a wood crank drill and collected sap in metal pails. The sap they collected was carried down the hill and put into a 4x4 pan, where they cooked this sap on an open fire.
As their family grew, their business grew. It seemed the more children they had, the more trees they had to tap. Because of course, the more maple trees the kids found out in the woods. At this time they also decided to invest in new areas to increase output.
As their operation grew, it was time to invest into a bigger pan to keep up with the extra trees. They went from a 4x4 pan, to a 2x8 pan. As time went by,it was time to move the operation out of the woods and into a new sugar shack. The family moved to a 2x8 evaporator and changed the open fire to cooking on a wood fired evaporator.
In 1997 they started to modernize and put many of the trees onto tubing and use battery powered drills. They also put gathering tanks out in the woods and started using pump lines to pump their sap from the woods. Their trees spread over 160 acres.
In 2004, they were honored to host the first tree tapping with Alice in Dairyland.
In 2005, Dad's health caused my mom and dad to semi-retire from farming. This semi retirement caused a change in living arrangements to accommodate their son and daughter in law, so that they could continue operating the family farm .
At this point, it was time to build a new sugar shack; one which my parents dreamed of. With the completion of the sugar shack, it was time for dad to become the CEO and spent less time collecting. Mom continued doing what she does best; canning the syrup, while relying on the children and grandchildren to do the collecting.
Don and Evie have been members of the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association (WMSPA) since 1967. In 2010, they were named Producers of the Year in Wisconsin and in 2017 they were named Honorary Life Members of the WMSPA.
Today with their 8 children, 31 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren,and family friends, they tap over 900 taps.
Using sap from mature Maple trees located in De Pere Wisconsin, the Maple Sweet Dairy creates Grade A and Medium Amber syrup.
After the sap has been gathered from the trees, the sap makes its way through an evaporator, which is fired by wood. After the sap reaches a certain density, it is pressure filtered and jarred.
It takes roughly 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.