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Published: Monday, 2/14/2011

Maple sugar demonstration on tap at county's trading post

BLADE STAFF

Visitors to the Navarre Anderson Trading Post see how maple syrup is made at a past event. Visitors to the Navarre Anderson Trading Post see how maple syrup is made at a past event.
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MONROE -- Maple Sugar Day, the annual festival sponsored by the Monroe County Historical Museums featuring demonstrations of how maple sugar is made and what life was like in the French pioneer era, will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Navarre-Anderson Trading Post.

Visitors to the trading post complex at 3775 North Custer Rd. will visit a 1790s maple sugar camp to watch living historians make maple syrup following 18th-century methods.

The "sugar bush" was a late-winter activity that occurred when the sap began to rise into the trees as early spring approached.

The tapping of trees and cooking of syrup was practiced by Native Americans and the European settlers who came later to Michigan.

Native Americans who discovered maple tree sap cooked and reduced it to a sweet amber syrup.

The hot syrup, when reaching this phase was often poured out onto fresh snow, which froze the syrup upon contact into a sugary candy. Further boiling of the syrup allows the sugar to solidify and be formed into cakes.

The Navarre-Anderson Trading Post complex is an example of a 1790s French homestead along the River Raisin.

The main building, built in 1789, is considered to be the oldest wooden residence still standing in the state. Other buildings at the complex include an 1810 cookhouse and a replica 1790's French-Canadian style barn.

The Martha Barker Country Store also will be open during the festival. It is the first time this year for these buildings to be open to the public.

For information, call the museum at 734-240-7780.



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