Treehugger Maple Syrup

Mar 7, 2023

Destination, Indiana Grown

Treehugger Maple Syrup – Laurel, IN

Scott and Deirdré Schirmer live on a picturesque property in Franklin County. Because of their military careers in the Air Force, both have lived all over the United States. The couple had been living in Kissimmee, Florida. Scott had a management job at Universal Studios in Orlando. Deirdré was a stay-at-home mother and homeschooling their two children. Wanting a more fulfilling lifestyle than that of suburbia America, they began researching possible locations for a new home. The choices were narrowed down to southern Indiana and northern Wyoming. They eventually ruled out northern Wyoming, so Indiana was the winner. Scott’s mother is from Winimac, so her Hoosier heritage played into the decision.

The children were left with their grandparents, and Scott and Deirdré set out for Indiana to find the location of their new home. They eventually settled on a rural property near tiny Laurel, Indiana. Scott’s parents, who were also living in Florida at the time, agreed to move to Indiana as well. So, with no job and two small children, the Schirmer’s moved to their new home in December 2005. At the time, Cydney was 12 and Kitt was 10. The following spring, Scott contacted the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for advice on how to care for and use the property to its potential. The DNR forester pointed out numerous sugar maple trees around the house and in the woods. He suggested making maple syrup.

The Schirmer’s first tapped the trees in 2007 as a “heritage” education project for the children, who Deirdré continued to homeschool. They put in ten taps around the house and used old milk jugs to collect the sap. Each year a few more taps were added in small increments with drop lines and 5-gallon buckets placed on the ground were used to collect the sap. Deirdré became a self-taught expert on the finishing and filtering processes. Initially the syrup was finished on the kitchen stove and filtered using coffee filters.

After “gleefully discovering” Sugar Bush Supplies in 2008, the finishing process graduated to cone filters, which she used for years. Deirdré credits Sugar Bush Supplies for teaching her a lot about the finishing process. She attended their fall open house each year to learn more and turned these trips to Mason, Michigan into family vacations. Deirdré also attended the North American Maple Syrup Council (NAMSC) conference in Duluth, Minnesota, and took every syrup grading class offered during the conference.

Deirdré jokes that her two best friends in the sugarhouse are “Murphy” and “Hanna,” as in the Murphy cup and HANNA Instruments. A new 24 x 26 foot sugarhouse was built in 2016. Today the Schirmer’s put out about 550 taps, with 60 on bags and the rest on 3/16-inch natural vacuum tubing. They produce around 150+ gallons of syrup each year. The syrup is labeled and sold by grades. They also make and sell maple cream, maple cotton candy, and maple sugar under the Treehugger Maple Syrup brand. They sell their products at the Richmond famers market, Greensburg farmers market, Warm Glow Candle, McDivitt’s Farm Market in Connersville, Golliher Farms in Cambridge City, Tuttle Orchards in Greenfield, The Village Smith in Metamora, and HillBilly Corner in Greensburg. They also sell their products online. Treehugger Maple Syrup participates in Indiana Maple Weekend each year. They enjoy educating the community on the sugaring process, the history of maple sugaring in Indiana, and how to cook with maple syrup.

15203 Ott Road
Laurel, IN 47024







About Indiana Grown
The Indiana Grown initiative aims to not only form a clearer designation of which products truly come from Indiana, but to also help Hoosier consumers easily identify and buy these products. We truly believe everyone has a chance to share in the success of the initiative; whether it’s a large or small operation, high-tech or low-tech, traditional or non-traditional.


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