The Land: Kistlercrest Farm, 5 generations of making maple syrup.

March 10, 2017
Dan Kistler continues to work the sugar shack at 85-years-old.

Dan Kistler continues to work the sugar shack at 85-years-old.

The Land: Kistlercrest Farm, 5 generations of making maple syrup.

#TheLand.

The Land is a monthly series that appears on Mason County Press featuring local agriculture. If you have a suggestion for a Land story, please email [email protected]

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SUMMIT TOWNSHIP — The roots of Kistlercrest Farms grow pretty deep and the trees grow pretty tall. The Kistler family has been making maple syrup on Hawley Road, just west of Brye Road, since the 1890s. Five generations later, Ron Kistler, and his wife, Sue, continue the tradition, tapping some of the same trees Ron’s great-great grandfather tapped. They also use the same sugar shack the family has used for generations, though it has seen some changes and updates. Ron’s dad, Dan, at a young 85-years-old, continues to assist at the sugar shack. Dale Ruba helps with the collection.

Kistlercrest Farms operates at 4049 S. Pere Marquette Highway, where the old US 31 intersects with Kistler Road. They grow cherries, apples, and maples.

“We tap about 6,600 trees,” Ron says. “Most of that is with gravity flow tubing. We have roughly 25 miles of tubing in the woods. It sounds like a lot of work but it’s less work than walking 25 miles gathering buckets.”

Those 6,600 trees average about 1,700 gallons of syrup a season. Sometimes they can produce up to 2,000 gallons. Kistlercrest syrup is sold on the farm and at local stores and farmers’ markets. About 1/3 of it is sold to wholesalers, Ron says.

Learn more about Kistlecrest Farm here.

This story, photos, and video are copyrighted © 2017 by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this content may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of Media Group 31. 

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