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      From tree to table: Maple syrup making in the Tri-States

      Maple syrup made from tapping trees in Nauvoo

      When you think of maple syrup, your first thought might be of New England. But in Nauvoo, one Tri-State man cooks up the flapjack favorite.

      Jim Topic started making maple syrup while growing up in Minnesota. When he moved to Nauvoo many years ago, he made a point to live off his little piece of dirt as much as possible. And one way is through this grove of maple trees.

      Each year, around this time when the temperatures begin to get a bit warmer, he taps these soft maple trees. Over the hours and days he collects this clear sap ... which tastes a lot like sugar water. Click here to watch us taste test the sap.

      The maple sap season is limited here in the Tri-States - at only about 3 to 4 weeks. However, in that time he can collect enough to make himself syrup for the upcoming year. Click here to watch Topic tap a tree.

      It takes a lot of sap to make a gallon of syrup. The equation is 40 to one. Basically it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.

      Once he collects it all, he dumps it in to a vat like this. Click here to watch.

      Then over the course of a day, he boils it down to the maple syrup we know and love. Click here to watch the sap boil to make syrup.

      Topic said, "I do it because then I know where my food is coming from. I'm eating from the earth."

      Do you try to be self-sustaining? Tell us all about it below or on our Facebook page here ... we'd love to share your story!