Business Profile
  • Southeast Wisconsin
  • February 2015
Written by 

Drewry Farms Maple Products

Drewry Farms Maple Products is a sixth-generation family farm that produces high quality, good-tasting maple syrup. Currently, fifth-generation descendent Barbara Drewry-Zimmerman manages the business while her parents, Dave and Ruth Drewry, provide their many years of knowledge and support. Many other family members use their talents and provide a lot of the labor, especially during the tapping and syrup-making season along with technical support and selling maple syrup products at farmers markets.

A historic art

Drewry ancestors came to this part of Wisconsin in 1847, purchasing land that also included a high concentration of maple trees on the Onion River south of Plymouth. The warm 40-degree days of spring and the freezing nights herald the maple syrup season in the northeast United States and southeast Canada, the only areas of the world with maple trees with sufficient sugar in their sap to produce syrup economically.

Early explorers in America discovered the American Indians had invented the art of sugar making: collecting sap and boiling water out of it to produce both syrup and sugar. Tomahawks were used to open trees and twigs were placed in the cracks to direct the sap into baskets collecting the liquid. Later, quills were inserted into small cracks, but the big advance came with actually drilling a hole in the tree, pounding in a wooden spout and hanging a wooden bucket on it. Sap was then boiled in a large kettle to remove water, leaving only thick syrup or sugar behind. For over a century, maple sugar was the only sugar used by most of the people in the U.S.

Maple syrup collection today

Today, tapping is done with power tools. Spouts are scientifically designed in metal or plastic, and metal pails, plastic bags and plastic tubing are used to collect sap. Plastic tubing suspended on wire lines, looking like a spider web in the woods, with vacuum pumps sucking the sap out of the trees, is the newest technology being used by larger maple syrup producers, including the Drewry family. Specifically designed reverse osmosis machines and evaporators designed with preheaters speed the removal of water to produce the syrup. The faster the water is evaporated, the lighter the color, more delicate the flavor and the higher the grade of syrup.

It still takes at least 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup. Approximately 39 gallons of water are removed and nothing is added. When the trees start to bud in the spring, the season is over. Wisconsin ranks third or fourth in maple syrup production in the United States, depending on the year. In Wisconsin, we only tap about 10 percent of the available trees, compared to producers in Vermont, who tap close to 75 percent of their trees.

With people’s increased interest in natural foods and the research currently being done on maple syrup, we are learning that it is not only a tasty treat, but is very good for you. With tree roots going deep into the earth, the maple tree brings forth many needed vitamins and minerals for humans.

Drewry Farms Maple Products’ main sugar bush of over 100 acres is located on a hill overlooking the Onion River and the former village of Winooski, 18 miles west of Sheboygan and 50 north of Milwaukee. They currently tap over 5,000 trees using suspended pipelines and vacuum pumps. Sap is boiled down to syrup in the syrup house located near the bottom of the hill on Winooski Road. After syrup is produced, it is bottled in glass or plastic containers that range in size from 8 ounces to 1 gallon. All their syrup is sold locally in winter and summer farmers markets, restaurants, natural health food stores, their website and retail specialty gift shops.

Come visit!

An annual Open House is held the fourth Saturday in March (March 28 this year), and most years people can see sap actually being collected and processed. Maple syrup food samples, children’s activities, and tours of the sugar bush and syrup producing facility make this event popular with entire families.

Visitors are always welcome to tour both the sugar bush and the syrup house especially during the maple syrup season, which usually starts in March. Calling ahead for an appointment is welcomed.

You can contact Drewery Farms through their website, www.drewryfarmsmaple.com, or call them at 920-893-5189.

It might be simply maple, but it is the natural and healthy choice!


Drewry Farms Maple Products

Winooski Road, Plymouth

920-893-5189

www.drewryfarmsmaple.com

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