ARTHURDALE, W.Va. (WBOY) — Arthurdale Heritage held its annual maple syrup demonstration on Friday, bringing history to life.
Arthurdale Heritage is a nonprofit organization that holds pride in preserving the community of Arthurdale, the nation’s first New Deal Homestead created by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The maple syrup demonstration consisted of burning down maple sap in a copper kettle over an open flame—the old-fashioned way.
12 News spoke with Elizabeth Satterfield, the Curator and Director of Education at Arthurdale Heritage, on the process of making maple syrup.
“You want to identify maple trees of the right size; they have to be a certain diameter and kind of a certain age to be able to produce enough sap so that you’re not going to hurt the tree by tapping it. You basically drill a hole and insert a spigot that comes out and usually, there’s either a bucket hanging off of that or it feeds into a tubing system into a central collection space,” Satterfield said. “Once you have your sap, which is just clear, it just looks like water and it has a very low level of sugar in it, you end up having to boil it down. The traditional way that people do it now is over a big stainless-steel container and using propane fire. The ratio is 40 gallons of sap to 1 gallon of syrup.”
On Friday, Arthurdale had about eight gallons of maple sap burning down that was brought over from a local farm in Taylor County. Although they intended to have less than a gallon after the preparation of the demonstration, there is plenty of local maple syrup for sale in the Arthurdale Heritage gift shop.
Maple syrup happens to be a growing industry within West Virginia. With the sugar maple tree as our state tree, maple sap can be found more commonly than one would imagine. Satterfield wanted to encourage readers to look into The West Virginia Maple Syrup Producers Association, which can help consumers find local maple syrup producers, shop locally and help West Virginian businesses.
Maple syrup demonstrations are just the tip of the iceberg for Arthurdale Heritage as they often host demonstrational and interactive events for the community. Their next event will be a square dance held on April 22, more information about upcoming Arthurdale Heritage events can be found here.