The weather was warm and though the ground was muddy, 1,160 folks flocked to Green’s Sugar Bush by Castalia last Sunday for some delicious pancakes with Green’s maple syrup and Spillville Locker sausage grilled over an open fire. For many, this has been a rite of passage to signal spring is here and after this long winter people were ready to celebrate the day by getting outside and enjoying one of the first possible sixty degree weather days since last October here in beautiful northeast Iowa. The two day event usually brings about two thousand people to the Green’s Maple Syrup event held usually the last Sunday in March and first Sunday in April. So no worries if you missed the fun, because they will have one more breakfast with wagon and pony rides again this coming Sunday, April 6, at Green’s Sugar Bush at 1437 111th Avenue by Castalia beginning at 10 a.m.
“With the cold spring, the Green’s were only on their second batch of maple syrup this season, which is very unusual since soon the season should be ending,” said David Ludeking of Decorah in Green’s sap house as he kept the wood fire going on the evaporator by adding wood every seven minutes as the sap condensed down.” The trees were tapped March 14, with pails out March 15 in the Sugar Bush maple tree farm but spring was slow to come this year.
Early Sunday morning Karen and Dale took a moment to pose for a photo in front of the sap house and the long lines that split to either buy maple syrup in the sap house (they have some from the previous year also for sale) or up the hill to the shelter for breakfast of pancakes and wood fire grilled sausages from local Spillville Locker. The horse teams and wagons were lined up full of people as many went for a tour of the timber after breakfast and the children had a fun time riding ponies.
“The whole event is a family affair,” says Karen Green. “Our children have taken over the meal for us.” Sixth generation granddaughter of the Green’s Dani Stock of Waukon was among the volunteers who guided the pony rides, while her Uncle Jody Meyer drove a team of horses and wagon through the timber for people could tour the woods. Other family members like Curt Hauser from Indianola who married Dale and Karen’s youngest daughter Wendy was busy grilling Spillville Locker sausages over an open fire for the breakfast, while Mark Stock and Jeni Green Melcher were busy flipping pancakes in the serving line to an almost unending line all day.
This coming Sunday is the last day of the event, serving breakfast from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come early. The lines are usually long for this popular rite of spring event not only locals, but has been known to bring in people from at least seven different states. To contact Dale and Karen Green, you can call 563-567-8472, they do ship orders or you can stop in to pick up the maple syrup after it is made.