It’s maple syrup harvesting time in northern Iowa.

The naturally sweet liquid sap from the area’s maple trees finds its way into tasty syrupy goodness. Maple syrup is one of the oldest agriculture commodities. Canada and the northeastern U.S. states carry most of the world’s production, with a handful of producers in the northeast corner of Iowa.

Great River Maple near Garn­avillo is one of those operations. Their sugar, black, red and silver maple trees are scattered across 70 acres of Mississippi River Valley forest.

“Maple trees grow clumped together in bushes and are intermixed with other forest trees,” explains Jeremy Turek, Great River Maple manager and a Clayton County Farm Bureau member.

Maintaining a supply of constantly growing and producing trees requires ardent forest management. An entire family mans the business, harvesting and refining syrup and marketing maple products.

Great River Maple ...