(Photo by Kelsey Klont/TCJ: Mary and Larry Haigh)
Haigh’s Sugar House Farm LLC is located and operated by Bellevue residents, Larry and Mary Haigh.
The 2023 North American Maple Council was hosted in Sturbridge, Massachusetts on October 25-28 where maple producers can attend bringing their last year’s bounty to be submitted for contest. While there producers learn new techniques from the top maple researchers, take tours of renowned syrup farms, and visit manufacturer booths at the council that showcase the new equipment.
By the end of the council, Haigh’s Sugar House Farm placed second for Granulated Maple Sugar. The Haighs also walked away placing second with their Pure Maple Syrup- Golden, receiving a nearly perfect score of 98 out of 100.
For many that may not know there are four classifications when it comes to maple syrup, all of which are determined by light transmittance (Tc) levels. Golden, that the Haigh’s placed very highly with, is classified by having a color that does not allow less than 75% Tc. Other syrup categories are: Amber, with Tc level of 50-74.9%; Dark is considered 25-49.9% Tc; and the last is Very Dark with color 25% or less Tc.
Haigh’s Sugar House Farm primarily makes Amber and Golden syrups, very rarely do the Haighs produce Dark Maple Syrup. The type of maple syrup that a sugar shack makes is fully determined by what the trees produce.
Larry has been surrounded by the maple syrup industry all of his life when his parents had a maple woods that they started tapping in 1959. He carried on the family tradition from his great grandparents when he bought his own woods in 1980, the same woods that they are still producing from in Bellevue. Haigh’s Sugar House Farm has 20 acres of maple syrup producing trees, Haighs started tapping in 1980 then boil at Larry’s parents, but in 2008 they started to boil their own. Currently, there are 700 taps on their property. They also process sap from 200 additional taps from surrounding maple syrup producers.
Larry, a fourth-generation maple syrup producer, has been on the board of the Michigan Maple Producers Association for 23 years, where he served many roles. For three years he was the Treasurer, served as President for 15 years, and has also been a delegate for the National American Maple Council for 15 years where he voted on the minutes of past meetings. Delegates also provide grants to universities that perform maple syrup research on vacuum systems and new tapping techniques for efficient production. As a very well respected peer by many producers, Larry gave me a hint about making great maple syrup, saying what temperature you cook and stir the sap at are key factors.
Primarily at Haigh’s Sugar House Farm it is just the husband and wife duo, Larry and Mary, with family members stopping in to help makes the process all the more enjoyable for everybody.
In 2021 the Haigh’s won first place at the Michigan Maple Conference for their Grade A Amber Maple Syrup. That is of course on top of their most recent second place winnings of Granulated Maple Sugar and Golden Maple Syrup. As Bellevue residents we applaud Haigh’s Sugar House Farm for all of their great successes and representing the local area well.
Haigh’s Sugar House Farm is welcoming visits at their farm located at 6903 S. Lacey Lake Road in Bellevue or call them for their great priced delicious maple syrup and many other maple products at 269-763-3107. Visit their website at www.haighsmaplesyrup.com.