Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

March 16, 2014

Altamont family makes maple syrup for 30 years

ALTAMONT — While the rapid rise and fall of temperatures throughout the area may be a problem for some, one family isn't complaining.

The conditions — a late night freeze and morning thaw — are ideal for harvesting sap from maple trees all around the Phillips family farm in Altamont. That flow of sap needs to be collected daily to boil and create the maple syrup the family has made for close to 30 years.

"In order for the sap to flow, it has to freeze at night and get to mid-40s in the morning," said 18-year-old Josie Phillips at the family's open house on Saturday. "This is just now getting going."

The family needs as much sap as possible for the syrup. About 200 maple trees all over the property have been tapped with spouts that have been hammered in 2 inches. Sap drains into large 3-gallon blue bags or into a drainage system for easier collection. Nearly 50 gallons of sap goes into every gallon of syrup, and that constant need for collection has kept the family busy.

"I've been out here since I was a kid," said Phillips, who is keeping track of harvesting and production of syrup for her FFA project. "It's something unique that we do."

The business has changed in some ways. A new evaporator has allowed for more syrup to be processed at one time and given a more consistent cooking session, tubing has allowed for quicker collection of sap and machines have allowed easier bottling and finishing of the product. Even with those advancements, collecting sap and making syrup is still time and labor intensive. The Phillips family has had to spend many hours together getting it all ready. Phillips said it's one of the things she values about the process.

"It really brings us together," she said. "It's two to four hours a day together doing all of this and getting ready. It's really fun."

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or at jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com or via Twitter @EDNJAdams.

Text Only
Local News
  • Complex support divides council All indications at Tuesday’s special meeting of the Effingham City Council indicates Effingham Park District will not get the $1 million it is asking for to help build the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center.In fact, Mayor Merv Gillenwater

    July 30, 2014

  • Correction It was incorrectly reported in Saturday’s Effingham Daily News that federal sex crime suspect Nathan Maphis was at large. Maphis is being held in Madison County Jail. The newspaper erred. Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.

    July 30, 2014

  • tony- community garden 2 Learning and growing together The installation of a Effingham Community Garden sign marks the growing success of a common place for Effingham residents to cultivate plants and produce.“We have 23 large plots and two small plots out here this year,” said University of Illinois Mas

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-30 kitchen fire pic Kitchen fire damages home An unattended kitchen stove led to a full-still fire call at 507 Park Hills Drive Tuesday afternoon.A passerby made a 911 call and reported visible smoke from the eaves of the home at 1:16 p.m. Arriving on scene, Effingham firefighters entered the ho

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man fatally shot in Pana standoff, officer wounded

    Illinois State Police(ISP) and Christian County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting that occurred on Tuesday, July 29, in rural Christian County that involved ISP SWAT, a Pana Police officer and an armed offender.

    July 29, 2014

  • City to determine contribution A request by Effingham Park District representatives for a million dollars to help construct the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center is being considered at a special Effingham City Council meeting this evening.Some commissioners questioned

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-29 Filming PRIMARY Effingham grad returns to make film Travis Long says he learned a lot from directing his first full-length feature several years ago.“Kill Me Now was a learning experience, both in shooting and distribution,” the 1998 Effingham High School graduate said.With a full production crew and

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • McCarter.jpg Some lawmakers donate pay

    Illinois lawmakers restoring their pay after years of furlough days has prompted some state representatives to give back to their communities — a move some local lawmakers call a political one.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Distance learning catching on in area

    In what appears to be a growing trend among rural school districts, a third area school district may join an existing academic cooperative.

    July 27, 2014

  • Joshua Robison.jpg Opinion: God doesn't care about party affiliation

    Reflecting on what we politely refer to in this country as “political discourse,” I am often struck by how convinced many people seem to be that their sides' specific policies and personalities are the only way to save us all from utter ruin.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.