Pancake Town USA
By Kim Breyley
It is that time of year again, when hundreds of maple enthusiasts, of all ages, hit the bush, tapping thousands of trees throughout Geauga County. This year in Burton, now also known as Pancake Town USA, the Burton Chamber of Commerce volunteers have been tapping trees, gathering and boiling gallons and gallons of sap.
Scott Adams heads the maple syrup production at the cabin for the Chamber. He relies on a dozen energetic volunteers to do the tapping and gathering. More than 600 taps were placed on Saturday, Feb. 4, and on Feb. 6 and 7th, the efficient team gathered up about 1,600 gallons of sap. Adams spent most of the night of Feb. 8 boiling this sap into a scrumptious 15-20 gallons of pure Geauga County maple syrup.
Adams recalls making maple syrup since childhood. “My grandfather, my father and his brothers all boiled maple syrup,” he said. “So did I, my brothers, sisters and cousins; we were free labor. My family would set about 3,000 taps on the family farm in Huntsburg, and we tapped neighboring farms as well. One year, I can remember, we tapped as many as 5,000. The thing we loved about it as kids, was that we were hanging out together all the time. Back then we hung mostly buckets and did use some tubing. My dad (Paul) loved to do maple syrup,” Adams continued. “After he retired from the farm, he used a small maple set up in his garage.”
Scott’s grandfather Paul A. Adams, and father Paul E. Adams, along with his brother Bob Adams were inducted into the Maple Producers Hall of Fame for Geauga County which is housed in the Patterson Building on The Geauga County Fairgrounds. Inductees are chosen because of their exemplary contributions to the maple industry in Geauga County. “Two years ago, Tom Blair from the Burton Chamber was inducted,” said Adams.
“I got away from it for quite a few years, was married with seven children, busy with work and raising my family,” said Adams. “A friend, Mike Blair, had been running the sugar camp at the Burton log cabin for many years and I made the mistake of asking if help was needed,” he joked. “As they say the rest is history.” Adams got involved, helped out at the Burton Log Cabin, tapped trees, gathered sap and helped with boiling.
“For the past three years, I’ve been doing all the boiling, and I assist Tom Blair with running the camp,” said Adams. “Which would not run if it were not for the volunteers. We have a great group of guys who come up here and work very hard gathering sap, tapping trees and hanging buckets.”
Last year the Burton Log Cabin was awarded second place for their submission of maple syrup in the Geauga Maple Festival. “I was very happy, especially for the guys that have been up here for years, slaving in the woods,” said Adams. “They finally get an award for all of their hard work.”
The Chamber volunteers will tap in four locations this year: the Village Square in Burton, the Township Park on Rapids Road, on volunteer, Matt McDermit’s property west of town, and said Adams, “We are extremely grateful to Kent State University, who let us tap the woods behind the campus north of Burton. Adam George, one of our younger volunteers taps his woods, so all tolled this year, the chamber will set out approximately 1,500 taps.”
“The past few years have been a little rough with poor weather,” added Adams. “They have not been good production years; we’re hoping for a better year this year; we just have to wait and see what Mother Nature gives us.”