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home : news : print edition (click here) March 26, 2017

4/29/2013 1:35:00 PM
Time to make maple syrup
Kroll family collects enough sap to make up to 500 gallons
Hans Kroll fills the stove with firewood to keep the evaporator going. Kroll cooked sap to make maple syrup April 16 on his farm near Long Prairie, Minn. Krollís granddaughter, Margaret Murtha, stands by to help.PHOTO BY ANDREA BORGERDING
Hans Kroll fills the stove with firewood to keep the evaporator going. Kroll cooked sap to make maple syrup April 16 on his farm near Long Prairie, Minn. Krollís granddaughter, Margaret Murtha, stands by to help.
PHOTO BY ANDREA BORGERDING
Clockwise from top; Brennan Murtha pours a pail of sap into a transfer tank. His father, Adrian Murtha, transfers sap from a bag on the tree to a pail. Once the sap is cooked down, syrup pours out of the evaporator and into cans. And Delaine Murtha enjoys a cupful of cooled syrup straight from the evaporator.   PHOTO BY ANDREA BORGERDING
Clockwise from top; Brennan Murtha pours a pail of sap into a transfer tank. His father, Adrian Murtha, transfers sap from a bag on the tree to a pail. Once the sap is cooked down, syrup pours out of the evaporator and into cans. And Delaine Murtha enjoys a cupful of cooled syrup straight from the evaporator.
PHOTO BY ANDREA BORGERDING
by Andrea Borgerding


LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. - Spring is a busy time of year for all dairy farmers. But for the Kroll family, spring can be even busier than the usual farmwork. For them, it's also time to collect sap and make maple syrup.
Hans Kroll has been collecting sap and making maple syrup for the past 53 years on his family's 30-cow organic dairy farm near Long Prairie, Minn. It is a tradition his father, John, started when Hans was just six years old. Today, Kroll, along with his wife, Lynn, and their children, continue the maple syrup making tradition.
On a good year, Kroll can make up to 500 gallons. So far this year, he is on his way to another successful season.
"We started collecting sap in mid-March and will continue as long as we can," Kroll said on April 16.
Kroll has 1,500 taps throughout the groves of maple trees surrounding his farm. Each tap will produce a quart of syrup.
"This year the sugar content of the sap is higher so I'm getting more syrup out of the sap," Kroll said. "And it's not taking as much to cook it down."
On a day favorable for collecting sap, Kroll will try to do two, four-hour cooking sessions. After four hours, Kroll has to stop to clean equipment.
Kroll uses an evaporator fueled by a wood fire to cook the sap. Two years ago, he purchased a reverse osmosis [RO] machine to take the water out of the sap.
"The RO machine cuts the cooking time way down," Kroll said. "I wish I would have bought one sooner."
Cooking and collecting sap is a big task and Kroll has a lot of family and friends helping out. Kroll farms with his son-in-law, Adrian Murtha. On the days Kroll cooks, he relies on Murtha to do the milking.
Kroll said making syrup has always been a family affair. His father, John, drives the wagon to and from the sap collectors to the cooking shed. His son, Thomas, helps collect sap along with neighbors and friends. Kroll's grandchildren also help by watching cans filling with syrup.
With teamwork, Kroll will be on his way to another successful maple syrup season.




Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2016
Article comment by: Jess Ferrer

I would like to let these people know that there is somebody in Valencia (Spain) who loves them alot and thinks about them quite often, although he is not too keen on writing letters.
I take this chance to wish them and the Great Kroll Family the best for this Christmas and New Year.

Love from your Son, Brother and Uncle Jess




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