Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is the day to tap maple trees in our area. There are private maple facilities in the county, but they are not open to the public. You can see a set up on CR200N west of CR400E intersection. Prophetstown will have maple syrup days in March on the 22nd and 23rd. Jessie and Mark from Woodland Indian Education will be demonstrating pre-European process. Woodland Indians processed the maple sap long before Europeans came with pots and kettles.
Sap runs for a brief time when the days warm into the 40’s or so and the evenings cool. In a mild winter, the sap may only run for 3 or 4 days. In a longer spring, warm days/cool nights the sap may run as long as 2 or 3 weeks. Whether in Vermont, or Indiana, the sap gathered in this brief period is the total annual supply. The “sugar water” is then reduced greatly to make the syrup. It is reduced further to produce maple sugar.
Feb. 22-23 and Mar.1-2: Parke County (link) Like the Covered Bridge festival, there are multiple sites and lots of vendors.
March 8-9 and 14-16: Lake County, Deep River County Park, 10-4 (Chicago time) Watch voyageurs tap hard maple trees and process the liquid into maple syrup (link). The mill will also be open that weekend so plan on picking up some mill ground corn. The gift shop will also have some fresh maple products. About a 1 .5 hour drive. (Near Merrillville)
Feb. 22-23 and Mar. 1-2: Salem Indiana Sugarbush (link). Lots of activities and vendors at this site (link). Figure about a 3 to 3.5 hour drive.
April 25-27: Wakarusa (link). This is the latest of the Maple Festivals in the state . About a 3 hour drive.
The National Maple Syrup Festival folks are taking a break this year, no 2014 festival. Make plans for a bigger and better festival in 2015 (link).
Check out the (link) Indiana Maple syrup festival website for Indiana producers who don’t have festivals, but do sell their products over the net.