Authentic Lake Hopatcong maple syrup
Everyone is familiar with those cute little syrup bottles from Vermont or Maine. They make a great souvenir or gift from a New England trip. But did you know some of the finest maple trees are right here in Sussex County?
Lake Hopatcong residents and the surrounding communities need not travel far to purchase this pure sweet syrup anymore thanks to Rick Savage and Wayne Cornellius, both of Mt. Arlington. Rick and Wayne have been making maple syrup from local maple trees for the past two years. Both men have been friends for years and both have made maple syrup for over 20 years. They have lived in the Lake Hopatcong area for over 20 years.
Wayne Cornelius and Rick Savage – how to tap a sugar maple tree.
Rick was born in Maine and learned to make syrup from his relatives. A few years ago the two friends decided to combine their skills for producing maple syrup and work together to provide the community with a home grown product.
“People think of maple syrup only coming from certain states or Canada,” said Rick. “There are so many maple trees right here around the lake; people are surprised by how available they are. This year we had 300 taps and made 45 gallons of syrup.”
Many of Rick and Wayne’s neighbors have had their own trees tapped for the sap and are very proud to be able to volunteer their maple trees. Not only can they participate in the process but can also witness the tapping and collection of the sap.
Trees need to mature to approximately 40 years before one can produce sap needed to make syrup. The average tree gives a gallon of sap a day. It takes 50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. It then gets boiled down to mostly sugar. It takes approximately two hours to make one gallon of syrup.
“Pure maple syrup has less calories per tablespoon than honey, many health benefits and so many more uses than just on pancakes,” said Wayne. At a time when everyone is going ‘green’ and concerned about supporting local businesses, we have found many vegetable and fruit markets quite interested in having a local product in their store.”
Rick and Wayne’s home grown maple syrup can be found at the Sussex County Meat Packing store, Wharton; Donaldson’s Farm in Hackettstown; Orts Farm in Long Valley; Landing Hardware in Landing, SewWhat and The New China Chinese restaurant in Mount Arlington. Wayne and Rick would like to see the syrup sold in other local stores on and around the lake and believe the Main Lake Market on Lake Hopatcong would be the perfect venue for their maple syrup.
The usual questions:
Favorite lake destination: “Alice’s restaurant on a nice summer evening with my wife Mindy,” said Rick.
Best lake day: “My idea of a great lake day would be out sailing my Hobie cat boat,” said Rick.