The Land: The Kaszas’ sweet success.

March 10, 2017
Samuel Kasza collects sap. Most of the sap collection takes place using tubing.

Samuel Kasza collects sap. Most of the sap collection takes place using tubing.

The Land: The Kasza’s sweet success.

#TheLand.

The Land is a monthly series that appears on Oceana County Press featuring local agriculture. If you have a suggestion for a Land story, please email [email protected] 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Samuel and Philip Kasza take maple syrup making pretty seriously. In seven years the brothers have taken the operation from a hobby to an income producing product. The farm, located on Buchanan Road, just east of Oceana Drive, currently taps over 3,500 taps. But, the brothers’ goal is to tap over 20,000 trees.

The Kasza Sugar Bush is located at 2500 W. Buchanan Road, about 3/4 mile east of Oceana Drive. While the brothers have been producing maple syrup commercially the past few years, the family has made maple syrup for a lot longer than that.

“I started making maple syrup when I was about 6-years-old,” Philip says. “It’s been a fun experience making maple syrup and to see how each year is different.”

Samuel and Philip have a goal to be able to support their families with the maple syrup operation. In order to do that, they know they need to grow.

“As we started out we knew we had to grow fast to get enough syrup so we could have enough income to make this operation go,” Philip says. “We are holding at 3,500 taps until we can increase our market. Our goal is 20,000 taps, which should be able to support both my brother and I.”

The Kasza brothers take pride in running an efficient operation while producing a quality product. The majority of the sap they collect is done using a tubing system that brings the sap to the lowest point in the woods using gravity and vacuum system. The syrup is then pumped back up to the highest point to a storage tank. The larger woods are located a few miles from the sugar shack. Philip and Samuel use smart phones to monitor the volume of sap in the tanks, so they don’t have to drive out to the site every few hours.

At the sugar shack, they use reverse osmosis, a process used to concentrate the maple sap to finish boiling into maple syrup.

“The sugar content in our sap runs a little lower than normal,” Philip explains. “Because our woods are very dense we don’t have as high of sugar content. The reverse osmosis is very useful and necessary in making this operation successful.”

The process takes out 75 to 80 percent of the water before is goes to the evaporator, which allows them to boil 10 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup instead of the normal ratio of 55:1 or 60:1.

The Kaszas sell their maple syrup at their farm and locally at West Shore Market, west of Scottville. They also sell at farmers’ markets in Ludington, Muskegon and Grand Rapids during the summer. The rest of their product is distributed in stores in other regions. They say they don’t market too much in local stores because they don’t want to compete against other local producers.

The farm will host an open house Saturday, March 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The open house will feature maple syrup, of course, along with other maple products and fresh doughnuts and refreshments.

Learn more at www.facebook.com/KaszaSugarBush.

This story, photos, and video are copyrighted © 2017 by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this content may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of Media Group 31. 

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