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


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Eggs

We're "dyeing" to show you how we spent the afternoon yesterday!  One egg-dye kit, six juice glasses, two preschoolers, and thirteen hard-boiled eggs.  We didn't start with this unlucky number; we started with sixteen.  Three were so excited to be dyed that they could burst (and did) in the pan.  And some of our eggs had a head start on the dyeing.  Six of our laying hens lay brown eggs and two lay white eggs, so of today's eggs, eight were white, two were brown, and four were green.  Yes, green!  Dr. Seuss wasn't quite as far-out there as you thought (although we'd still recommend staying away from green ham).  We don't have green-egg-layers of our own, but one of our friends thought the girls would enjoy having some green eggs and sent a few over.  The multi-colored baker's dozen made for some interesting egg-dye outcomes that we thought we'd share with you. Before you judge the craftsmanship of the dye job, though, please remember - the primary artists were ages two and a half and four!
Our Easter eggs, prior to dyeing: seven white, four green and two brown.
The white eggs turned out about how you'd expect - pretty pastels.  

The brown eggs did okay in the darker color dye.  Starburst breakage pattern courtesy of an overexcited two and a half year old. 

The green eggs were a bit of a mixed bag.  Yellow dye on a green egg does not lead to an attractive outcome(back).  The  egg on the right was dyed with masking tape around the middle - the middle stripe is the original egg color.

Happy Easter from the hens (and humans) of Kopp's Crops!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nectar of the Gods

The trees are dripping!  The trees are dripping!  The sap is finally flowing and we couldn’t be sappier… er, happier!  We’ve tapped one hundred and thirty trees this year, so 2013 tops our tapping tally to date.  Sadly, many of the buckets are still dry and sap-free, especially the ones deeper in the woods where the temperatures still struggle to get above freezing.  But the ones that have sap in them are a beautiful sight.  It may look like plain old water, and even taste like it, but it is the nectar of the gods.  Or at least the nectar of the god of pancakes, IHOPysus. 

The sap's sugar content is its most important quality.  Red maples, which make up the majority of our tapped trees, typically have a sugar content of 2.0-2.5%, while sugar maples have a slightly higher 2.5-3.0% sugar content.  This makes the standard sap-to-syrup ratio about 43:1.  Yes, over 40 gallons of sap just to walk out of the boiling shack with a single gallon of syrup!  Sugar content in the harvested sap declines until it’s boiled, so we boil as often as possible to maximize our syrup.  But we also try not to boil until we’ve collected over 40 gallons of sap.  Our boiling pan is two feet by four feet, so it takes almost two gallons of boiling syrup just to keep the pan covered and not scorching. 

After our first sap collection yesterday we used a hydrometer to test the sugar content of our haul.  One tree pumped out a whopping 4% sugar - sweet!  But by the time we collected from all the trees, the average sugar content was 2.3%.  Well within normal range, and with fifty gallons of sap in our barrel, well worth firing up the wood stove for our first boil of the season.  The fruit of our labors?  One gorgeous gallon of golden goodness.  All hail IHOPysus!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cute Chicks

Is there anything cuter than a baby chick?  How about a whole flock of baby chicks?  Just in time for Easter, we've got a few new residents at Kopp's Crops.  And by few, we mean about 125 of them!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Waiting for Spring to Spring Forth

Waiting, waiting, waiting… we’re still waiting for sap.  We tapped all our trees on Wednesday, when it looked like the temperatures would creep above freezing.  Not so much.  All we’ve got to show for our first few days are a couple of buckets with a half-inch of frozen sap in the bottom.  It’s always a balancing act – if we tap too early (as we apparently did this year), we risk having the holes in the trees heal up before all the available sap is collected – the trees actually start healing the minute they’re tapped.  But if we tap too late and miss the beginning of the sap run, we’ll miss out on the delicately-flavored light amber maple syrup that those first days will bring.

Our other sugar sources, the honey bees, are not happy about the lingering freezing temperatures, either.  We’re not really worried about them freezing in their hives, since we wrapped all the boxes with black tar paper to keep the wind out and the heat in.  And even on a sub-zero day, a cluster of bees and their body heat can reach 80 degrees.  But the bees still leave the hive for their periodic “cleansing flights,” also known as “taking a little bee dump outside so they don’t turn the hive into giant latrine.”  Some of those bees won’t survive out in the cold long enough to make it back to the hive. 

The bees that don’t freeze their little bee butts off outside the hive are probably getting a tad hungry by now.  To keep our honey-creators alive through the winter, we left 60-70 pounds of honey in each hive to provide enough sustenance until spring.  But with winter continuing to stretch out, we’ve had to supplement their winter stash with some sugar water.  When they suck the sugar water out of the feeder, they’re tricked into thinking the spring nectar is flowing.  Oh, if only we could trick ourselves into thinking spring is so close!    

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Easing Into the Season

When days are warm but nights still freeze
The sap starts flowing in the trees…

For the past few weeks, when 10:14pm rolls around, you’ll find us on the couch, eyeballs glued to the TV, fingers crossed, waiting for just the right weather report.  The maple sap run starts when the daytime highs climb a few degrees above freezing for a few days in a row– the sap rises from the roots toward the warm, sunny branches.  But when the air temperature drops back below freezing at night, it flows back down to hide out in the warmth of the ground.  Up and down, up and down.  Except for that bit that flows by our taps and into our buckets.

Since we haven’t seen that sought-after five-day forecast yet, we’ve just been easing into the season so far.  First, we cleared out the Sugar Shack and brought the equipment out of hibernation.  Buckets, taps, storage drums, and the big kahuna: the boiling pan. Everything needed to be completely sanitized, to ensure that all the sugar-eating bacteria were eliminated.  The taps were small enough that we could boil them to get them squeaky clean.  Everything else got a good scrubbing with bleach and elbow grease.  The wood boiling stove just needed a good once-over to get rid of the spiders and other creepy crawlies that made their winter home there.  Then we stacked a full cord of dried, split wood neatly beside the Sugar Shack.  We tapped the tree closest to the house as a tester tree.  And then, we waited.  And watched the weather report.  And waited some more.
Saturday, we just couldn’t stand the waiting any more.  With daytime temperatures projected to be right about freezing this week, we decided to tap the first 25 trees.  We chose a stand of trees on the southeast slope where it’s a little sunnier, and maybe a little warmer.  And now we wait again, for the first flow of the sweet sap of 2013…