Kopp's Crops is a family-run business specializing in maple syrup, honey and fresh vegetables. We are located 45 miles north of Minneapolis in Bradford Township on our 65 acre farm.

*Now Selling at the Cambridge-Isanti Farmers Market!*

Local Orders: For pickup in Isanti, Cambridge, Brooklyn Park or Arden Hills, please email koppscrops@gmail.com or call 763-772-7057 to place your order and arrange payment & pickup. Available products are listed in the shopping cart below.

Outside the Twin Cities: Please use the online shopping cart below. USPS shipping charges will be calculated at checkout.

For questions, please email us at koppscrops@gmail.com


Thursday, February 23, 2012

(Sugar) Shackin' Up

The mild winter this year put the kibosh on our planned cross-country ski trail through the woods.  But the lack of snow has extended the outdoor construction season across the entire state, and Kopp’s Crops has jumped on the bandwagon.  One of our biggest worries every season has been the threat of a rainy spring.  Barrels of sap don’t wait for a dry day, and it’s difficult to make any progress when raindrops fill up the boiling pan faster than it evaporates.  So over Christmas break, with ground still snowless and temperatures early-spring mild, we decided to set ourselves up for all-weather boiling.  We started building the Sugar Shack. 
The Sugar Shack is twelve feet square with a three foot overhang (aka front porch) to keep a stack of wood handy & dry.  We set it back about 200 feet into the woods - just far enough to make for a picturesque blog photo.  But don’t be fooled.  The quaint, old-fashioned exterior hides an engineering marvel inside.  Simply building walls & a roof around our boiling stove would create more problems than it solves.  Unless one of the problems we’re trying to solve is “where can we find a good maple syrup sauna?”  So we got a steam hood made to create a vacuum to catch the evaporating water and carry the steam outside through the stack.  Notice that little door on the side of the steam hood in the photo?  Just like the little door on the Tin Man’s chest in “The Wizard of Oz,” it provides access to the heart of the operation – the fragrant boiling syrup.  It lets us easily check on the sap to see how the boiling is going, and making sure we’re not letting it boil down far enough to scorch.
The Sugar Shack’s secondary purpose is to help our sap to boil faster so we don’t have to spend every waking moment of March keeping the fire fed.  With the shack itself protecting the stove from the wind, a new lining of firebrick on the inside of the stove, and a forced air draft to push air through the burning wood to create a hotter, faster fire, we expect to spend a lot less time by the boiling stove, and a lot more time inside eating pancakes & fresh maple syrup with our girls.  Oh, and speaking of the girls, the Sugar Shack serves a third important purpose.  In a household where he’s outnumbered 3 to 1 by women, the Sugar Shack is as close to a “Man Cave” as Jason is going to get!