Novi farm yields hundreds of gallons of syrup this March

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Extracting maple syrup is pretty simple. 

All you need is a drill, a plastic tub and a bucket.

Oh, and the perfect tree.

"This beautiful specimen here is a sugar maple, we will tap that," said a farmer.

Despite the fresh snow that has blanketed Michigan, it's the perfect time to extract maple syrup. On the MSU Tollgate Farm and Education center, that process is on full display. Even though March offers the perfect conditions for extracting syrup - below freezing at night and above freezing in the day - some trees can get tapped in February.

Farmers drill a hole into a tree, insert a tube into the point of contact and hook it up to a web of more tubes. Over the next few days, the sap from the tree will leak into the tube, making its way to large gallon drums that hold the substance.

Farmers at the historic farmstead in Novi estimate between 10 and 20 gallons of sap will translate into a quart to maybe half a gallon of syrup per tree. 

From its tree source, the sap moves to the "Sugar Shack," a hut built to refine that substance into that liquid gold any breakfast pastry is familiar with.

"It's very labor intensive," said one volunteer. "We have to be here to stoke the fire and watch the temperature and check it with a hydrometer the first time off becuase it will change every day."

Workers can commit sometimes 12 hours a day when the sap is flowing in. But after it's boiled, the payoff of sugary goodness shows its sweetside - in the form of gallons of syrup.

The tubing system contains about 400 taps on 250 trees in the woods. They'll yield 100 gallons of syrup.