International Friendship Gardens hosts its annual maple sugar event this year on Sunday, March 8th. The Gardens will be open from Noon to 3 p.m. This has been rescheduled due to bad weather. This is a free event the Gardens offer to local families. At the cabin, visitors can have a treat and a cup of tea sweetened with – maple syrup!
Volunteer Jude Rakowski had collected and chopped wood all year to fuel the fires under the kettles of sap. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. The Indians taught the settlers how to do this,” Rakowski said. “By spring, their supplies were almost gone and they would have almost nothing to eat except the sugar.”
Rakowski taps red maples that are on the edge of the 60-acre woods that surrounds the garden area at Friendship Gardens. “It's not as good as sugar maple, but it still makes a nice syrup,” Rakowski said.
The kettles are boiled near the Native American garden that she tends. She and other volunteers lay out a nature trail that visitors can take to the sugaring area. The self-guided trail is an easy three-tenths of a mile hike with a booklet available to Garden visitors describing numbered points of interest.
Call the Friendship Gardens office at 878-9885 for more information and to check for cancellation in case of bad weather. Friendship Gardens is located at 2055 U.S. 12 at the east edge of Michigan City.