Just this past week I queried a question about an old “sugar camp” that I had remembered from childhood in the Middlebury area. I remembered it being west of town and, for some reason, Olie Schrock stuck in my mind. It didn’t take long for the responses to start coming in. In fact, my sister Dalis (who hasn’t been in the area since graduating from nursing school and marriage) was one of the first to remind me: It was Olen “Olie” Schrock, who was the father of one of her best friends, Virginia. Then two other responses came from some of Middlebury’s best historians, Dan Bowers and Jon Witmer, who pinpointed the location.
Since sugar maple tapping is soon to be upon us (albeit probably somewhat later than last spring), and I was perusing an article from last year that I did about a camp west of Goshen on C.R. 32, it triggered that old camp from my childhood. The “historians” reminded me that Mr. Schrock worked for the county highway department and took several weeks off each year to make maple syrup.
A snippet of information for those that don’t know: It takes between 40 to 50 gallons of “sugar water” to make just one gallon of maple syrup. Maple trees are generally tapped when they reach a size of 10 inches in diameter at 4½ feet above ground level. A 15-inch round tree at this level will allow two taps and a 20-inch tree can accommodate three taps. An average tree will produce 15 gallons of sap from each tap-hole per season. The flow of water from the trees is the result of freezing temperatures at night to above freezing temperatures during the day.
The water is stored and filtered several times at the sugar camp while heating to a temperature of 185 degrees to reduce its percentage of water making a finished product that is 65 percent sugar. A gallon of maple syrup weighs approximately 11 pounds.
As I see it, Facebook isn’t all about friendly gab — it is a place to learn as well.