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White Gull Inn


(Above) Roland Jorns shows Alice in Dairyland Christine Lindner how to tap the first maple tree of the year on his property in March of 2011. Photo by Paula Hedeen. (Above right) A sampling of spiles used to tap trees. (Opposite page) In addition to a few awards, a map hangs behind the counter, marking the places from around the world where Jorns’ customers have come from.


“so as an incentive to me he had one of the Lameres build a four-by-eight-foot arch for boiling maple sap [and] the local blacksmith build a four-by-eight- foot pan with three dividers and a draw- off to boil in.


“I was only nine or ten years old at


the time,” he recalled. “You can’t imag- ine how I felt – a father putting so much trust and faith in a kid that young. I ran that first camp until I was a sophomore in high school.”


Te History of Maple Syrup Maple syrup is an indigenous food


in this country, as Native Americans tapped trees before recorded history. Waiting until early spring when the temperature rises above freezing during


36 Door County Living Winter 2011/2012


the day and drops below at night, they gauged the side of a maple with a stone axe and inserted a spout made from a flexible piece of bark, collecting sap in a container. Tey then either dropped hot stones in the sap to evaporate the water or allowed the liquid to freeze, re- moving the resultant chunk of ice from the concentrated syrup.


Traditionally, European settlers have


tapped trees by drilling holes in them with a brace and bit and inserting spig- ots made from wood. And while it’s not the system he uses now, Jorns has made primitive spiles from white cedar and explains the process: cut a five-inch piece of cedar log; split it into one-inch square pieces; drill a center hole through the length of each; whittle a taper at one


In 1972 at age 24 Andy Coulson purchased the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek. During his first years as an owner he drove his 1956 Ford pickup truck to Jorns’ Sugar Bush to purchase maple syrup for his restaurant. He learned that Roland Jorns’ high school prin- cipal James Langemak bought maple syrup from young Roland for the Sunset Beach Lodge that he ran during the summer. Coincidentally, that resort later became the White Gull Inn, which still features Jorns’ Sugar Bush maple syrup, maintaining a menu tradition for over 65 years.


end and cut a “V” at the other for the spout.


Sap was collected in wooden buck-


ets and hauled in milk cans on horse drawn stone-boats or wagons to the camp where it was boiled in huge cast iron kettles over wood fires. (Visitors to the Jorns’ Sugar Bush can see one of Grandfather Jorns’ kettles.) Syrup mak- ers judged the proper consistency of their product by checking the thickened liquid drip from a spoon.


Modern Syrup Production


Technology has made the process of collecting sap and reducing the water content for syrup more efficient, but some of the steps remain constant, such as waiting for appropriate spring tem-


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