You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Maple syrup can sub in many recipes

Festival spotlights a sweet treat.

For many home cooks maple syrup is a substitute in recipes for processed sugar in dishes ranging from stir-fried meals to baked goods.

The maple syrup options on store shelves are often made with corn syrup and artificial sweetners. For the real deal, head to Bellbrook this weekend for the 35th annual Bellbrook Sugar Maple Festival, Friday through Sunday.

Bline Farms will sell about 80 gallons of syrup over the weekend, which translates to roughly 3,200 gallons of sap collected. Sap is mostly water, and after it is boiled down in a method that has been passed on for centuries, it yields the sweet, brown syrup that completes pancakes and waffles alike and can sweeten up other recipes that call for it.

It’s a multipronged process to make pure maple syrup, says Jeffrey Bline of Bline Farms, which has been providing organic, locally raised maple to the festival for five years.

“The process for making maple syrup requires the help of many people. We tap the trees in our woods by drilling a 1.5 inch hole into the trees and inserting a metal tap at a slight upward angle. This angle allows the sap to drip into a collection bucket attached to the tap. Daily in February and March we collect the sap and filter it into large tanks. Once we have collected a significant amount of sap (typically 500 gallons) we transport it to our good friends the Dill family’s sugar camp near Urbana, where they have the equipment necessary to boil the sap until it becomes syrup. The Dills run the largest sugar camp in Ohio and tap up to 6,000 tress,” says Bline.

Bline says his syrup stands out from others due to the lack of preservatives. He says part of his passion for his product stems from the health benefits, including antioxidants, it provides.

“Our biggest challenge would have to be finding the time to collect all the sap, since the maple is a hobby for us and we have other full-time commitments. That being said, we enjoy the collection, and love being outside and working in the woods together as a family,” said Bline, whose daughters Rebekah, 20, and Molly, 9, are making maple cookies to sell over the weekend. “The people (at the festival) are wonderful, and we love sharing our product with them. I enjoy sharing my maple knowledge with people and hearing the next year how they experimented and put that knowledge to use by tapping their own tree.”


1 cup blueberries or strawberries

1/2 cup cranberry juice

3/4 cup vanilla yogurt

2 cup ice cubes

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or to taste)

1 cup water (or enough to make mix fluid)

Mix in blender until desired consistency is reached.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Tuna, star of the Amazing Acro-Cats, dies of cancer
Tuna, star of the Amazing Acro-Cats, dies of cancer

The cowbell won't sound quite the same now that Tuna, the star of the Amazing Acro-Cats cat circus, has died.Happy Cats Haven posted the news Friday on its Facebook page: "To all our fans of Tuna and The Rock Cats and the Amazing Acro-Cats, it's with many tears that we let you know that Samantha Martin's star kitty Tuna crossed the Rainbow Bridge...
7 small changes that will have a big impact
7 small changes that will have a big impact

It’s only a few weeks into 2017, but you’ve already come to an uncomfortable and familiar realization. New Year’s resolutions result in more guilt and depression than achievement. Forget about the big aspirations for a transformational do-over. They don’t work. How about making some small changes today that eventually can have...
Let’s have a cheer for the Amherst Hamsters
Let’s have a cheer for the Amherst Hamsters

Amherst, a tiny college of 1,795 really smart scholars in Massachusetts, made news last year when the board of trustees voted to drop Lord Jeffs as its athletic teams’ unofficial mascot. Lord Jeffery Amherst, historians discovered, was not necessarily a nice person. The 18th century British general reportedly once suggested giving smallpox-infested...
Stark numbers show heroin’s local grip
Stark numbers show heroin’s local grip

An average of seven Montgomery County residents a day were treated for drug overdoses by emergency departments in 2016, and one person alone made eight trips to the ER. Eleven people were treated twice in the same day for overdoses. The stark figures — amassed largely due to a devastating heroin epidemic — are found in a new Public Health...
After a cesarean, some women can have a vaginal birth

Premier HealthNet is one of the largest groups of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, and urgent care practices in southwest Ohio. For more information, go online to Birthing a baby can be a long, painful process, but for many women the experience fulfills a deep emotional longing as a new mom. A vaginal birth...
More Stories