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, April 14, 2013

Boil, Baby, Boil!

First of all, we want to be clear.  Even though this incredibly long stretch of cold weather has extended our season and will give us our biggest syrup haul ever, we still want spring to arrive NOW just as much as anyone else in Minnesota!  We’re willing to call it quits on sap collection.  We’re ready for warmer weather.  Any day now, thanks!

Sap Delivery & Preheating Mechanism
But in the meantime, when the world gives us sap, we make syrup!  No matter how cold it gets inside, it’s toasty warm inside the Sugar Shack.  To keep the sap at a rolling boil, we add wood to the stove every 10-12 minutes.  We use a mix of oak and maple.  Nope, not for a smoky flavor, but because our oak is drier and contains more BTUs so it burns hotter, while the maple is wetter and burns longer.  This keeps the fire burning at 750 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, as measured by the thermometer mounted on our smokestack.  The thermometer has an ominous name; “burn indicator” is stamped on the bottom of it.   Boil, baby boil… syrup inferno!  No, no infernos, please – that’s why we have a panel of cement board mounted between the stove and the back wall, and a fire extinguisher mounted prominently near the door of our Sugar Shack.  Safety first, syrup second! 

To make sure the syrup keeps boiling steadily as we add more sap to the pan, we use copper tubing to carry the sap from our 55 gallon drums into the pan.  The tubing has a valve like our house’s plumbing, where we can adjust the speed of the sap flow.  And the copper wraps around the smokestack twice, so that the sap is already preheated a bit by the time it goes streaming into the pan.  During the height of the boil, we try to adjust the flow to keep about 3 inches of boiling liquid in the pan for optimal evaporation.  With this setup, we can boil the excess water off 50 gallons of sap in about 6 hours.  Or about fifty rounds of adding wood to the fire.  Not that we're counting.