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Forest Sciences | Plant Sciences


St. John’s is the home of one of Minnesota’s oldest maple syrup operations. The monks began making syrup in 1942 and have continued roughly every other spring until the present. Currently, the operation is jointly run by the Abbey and St. John’s Arboretum and it is one of the few maple syrup operations associated with a Minnesota college or university. The process by which maple syrup is made at St. John’s differs little from the procedures begun more than 60 years ago. In spring, sugar maple trees are tapped, sap is collected, and then it is boiled in the sugar house to produce syrup. Historically speaking, each year St. John’s installs about 1400 taps, collects more than 10,000 gallons of sap, and makes about 250 gallons of syrup. The best sap flow occurs from mid-March to mid-April. On average, the trees produce sap for a period of 22.5 days with a sugar content of 2.2%.