The Publican

To see how Midwest maple syrup is made, and used, take this tasty road trip

To see how Midwest maple syrup is made, and used, take this tasty road trip

Rob Hough, the fire chief in this Ogle County village, met his destiny over a roaring fire, but not the kind for which someone calls 911. He was standing in his driveway, where blazing logs were being used to make maple syrup.

Hough remembers the early spring days of his boyhood, when his grandmother would say, “This is sugar weather,” referring to the cold nights and warm days needed for the sap to run. But it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that he revived the family tradition of tapping trees for their sap. That took some coaxing from grandma.

“She went down to the basement,” he recalled, “and brought up a bucket of handmade wooden taps,” taps his great-grandfather had...

72°