Maple Syrup

No matter what corner of the Chicago area you find yourself in, you will likely be able to check out a maple syrup festival somewhere during this month.

Here are a few of the festivals that I am aware of. Feel free to add any others in the comments. These are generally very educational events that the whole family can enjoy.

North Park Village Nature Center

5801 N. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL , 60646
(312) 744-5472

Bring the family to experience the entire maple syrup making process, from tapping the tree and collecting sap to boiling it down to syrup. Stroll the sugar bush, enjoy storytelling and live music, make a craft, and taste homemade syrup.

Fees: Free

Age Range: All Ages

See the entire maple syrup-making process from tapping the tree and collecting the sap, to boiling it down into syrup.  Take a walk through the sugar bush, enjoy storytelling, make a maple craft, warm yourself by the fire, and taste real maple syrup fresh off the fire.   The Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet and warm tradition that is free and fun for all ages. No registration required.

Pioneer Fest and Pancake

Breakfast! Enjoy pancakes, sausage, and 100% pure maple
syrup! Come for the maple syrup making
demonstrations and try your hand at pioneer chores
while stepping back into time with our pioneer reenactors.
Age: All
Pilcher Park Nature Center
Sat/Sun 3/24-3/25 8 am-12 pm
$9 Adults/$7 Children under 12 (my understanding is that the fee is only if you are eating, but call to confirm this)

Phone: 815-741-PARK (7275)

Sap Collectors

Fullersburg Woods, Dupage County

Mar. 9, 2012

Hike to the sugarbush to collect sap from sugar maple trees. Ages 6 and up; under 14 with an adult. $3 per person. To register, call (630) 850­-8110.

  • Mar 2, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Fullersburg Woods
  • Mar 9, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Fullersburg Woods
  • Mar 16, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Fullersburg Woods

Maple Sugaring Days

Naper Settlement

Saturday and Sunday, March 10 & 11, 2012
Maple Sugaring Days

The history of maple sugaring
Maple sugaring was an integral part of American life in the 1800s and was the foremost sweetener until the end of the Civil War. A community social event celebrating the arrival of spring, the difficult work involving in collecting and processing the sap required many hands. This festive gathering was a welcome diversion following a long winter. Until the end of the Civil War, maple products were the most important food sweeteners in the United States because they were far less expensive and more available than cane sugar.

Saturday 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Sunday 1:00-4:00 pm

Ticket Information:
$9 adults
$8 seniors (62+)
$6.50 youth (4-17)
Naperville Heritage Society members and Season Pass Holders receive free admission.

And,  the one at Kline Creek Farm already passed, but here is a YouTube video that they took to show the tree tapping. I’m sure the drill is authentic 1840s 😉

And here are a couple more places to find lists of maple sugaring events in Illinois and surrounding states:

Farm tours available

I enjoyed a CSA from this farm quite a few years ago now, and here they are with tours of their facilities. Great way to kick of the outdoor growing season and add a unique field trip to your schedule.

From Erewhon Farm:

Visit Our Farm – Learn How to Garden Organically

Edible Farm Tours — 2012 Schedule

February/ March, 2012, Maple Sugaring Tour! (Dates will depend on the weather)

See how we tap the maple trees, collect the sap, and boil it down to make the most delicious, all natural maple syrup!  Also, we’re planting and transplanting spring crops in our hoop houses!  We’ll show you how to start seedlings for your home garden.

April 28, 2012 @1:30

Early spring crops are growing in our hoop houses and you can taste anything you like.  We’ll show you how we grow seedlings indoors, how we fertilize them, and how we transplant them into our garden beds.  We’ll show you how to make a low-cost cover for your garden crops so you can start earlier in the spring.  Robin Migalla will demonstrate easy ways to cook kale and Swiss chard. Yum!

May 26, 2012 @1:30

We’ll show you how we prepare our growing beds and some techniques for minimizing weeds in the garden.  What’s growing in our raised beds and how we make them. Guess how hot is our compost pile.  Is anything blossoming in our edible forest garden?  We’ll taste a variety of salad greens and share a garden salad. Robin Migalla will demonstrate easy ways to cook kale and Swiss chard. Yum!

Please let Gayle Riley know you’re coming:  (630)776-1700 Cost: $10.00 per person, children under 12 are free! CSA subscribers $5.00.

Private Farm Events

Especially designed tours for school field trips, boy and girl scout troops, and individuals from clubs or organizations. This one hour tour will be themed for the specific time of year and your interests.  Vegetable tasting encouraged.

Cost per person $7.50 with a minimum of $50.00

Please contact Gayle Riley to plan your event.  (630)776-1700.

We can also organize more in-depth farm visits.  Contact Tim Fuller ( or 630-485-9963) for more info.

Farm Location:

40W248 Hughes Rd. Elburn, IL 60119

Mailing address:  Tim Fuller, 968 Pattee Av., Elburn, IL 60119

Kline Creek Farm — Maple Sugaring

Looking for something to do this weekend? Head over to Kline Creek Farm for their Maple Sugaring event. This takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 10-4 both days.

From their website:

See how 1890s farm families tapped trees and boiled the collected sap into maple syrup and sugar. Then, try to tap a tree yourself. Activities ongoing. Free. Registration not required.

Also happening at Kline Creek this weekend is “A Nickle’s Worth“:

Find out what a nickel could buy in the 1890s and how consumer preferences were changing. Free. Registration not required. Tours begin on the hour.

And, Blacksmith demonstrations (Saturday only from 1:30-3:30):

Stop by the wagon shed to see the blacksmith repair equipment and demonstrate the tools and techniques of the trade. Free. Registration not required.

Call (630) 876-5900 for more information.

Kline Creek is a great place for family outings. The visitor’s center has indoor bathrooms, a gift shop, and sometimes hosts other displays and activities. This addition to the property makes a visit to Kline Creek a bit easier on families with young children.

Other highlights a visit to the farm can bring:

The farmhouse was the center of domestic activities and today contains original artifacts and reproductions that enhance its homelike atmosphere. House tours start on the hour from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and present topics from baking, canning, quilting and spring cleaning to preparing the house for special celebrations.

Depending on the time of year, staff and volunteers plant heirloom fruits and vegetables in the kitchen garden, tend to the orchard, work in the wagon shed or cure sausages in the smoke house. Percheron work horses help plant and harvest crops of corn, oats, and other small grains; and resident livestock, such as the farm’s Southdown sheep, Shorthorn and Angus cattle, and chickens, occupy the farm’s coop, barn, fold, and pastures.

Come with your questions and curiosity, and this time of year come prepared for some mud as well. We have found the staff there helpful and knowledgeable. A great place for creating memories.