ST. JOSEPH -- Over 100 people enjoyed a nice day touring the maple syrup operation at Wildwood Ranch on Kraemer Lake today.

Those who came out got a free tour of the woods where the sap is collected, and the sugar shack -- where about 400 gallons of pure maple syrup is produced along with free samples of the tasty product.

Shelly Carlson, who led the tours, says maple syrup production has been the family business for over 30 years.

"My family's been making maple syrup out here since the late 1970s," Carlson says. "I had my certain jobs when I was in high school and in college I'd come out and help whenever I could."

"It's become a family tradition," says Carlson, whose husband and children help out in the syrup production and tours. Carlson's daughter, Addie, says it gives the family a chance to get together.

"It's just great because my family's spread out all over the place," Addie Carlson says. "My brother lives in South Dakota and I go to college here in [St. Joseph] and this is kind of a place where we can all get back together again."

"It's a great experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything."


Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON
Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON