Marion County library clerk teaches locals how to turn sap into syrup

MARION COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Locals gathered at the Marion County Library to learn how to turn a tasteless drop of sap into a popular sweet product known as maple syrup.

Keith Hubbarb, a Marion County Library clerk, taught the session and introduced the do's and don'ts of tapping.

What started as a family tradition, turned into a hobby that Keith has done for the past six years, and began teaching classes just two years ago.

The library program coordinator, Connie VanGilder said it's nice that Keith wanted to share his skills with those in the community.

"He was willing to share what he knew and his passion for this tradition," she said.

A tradition Keith noticed the public was interested in.

"A lot of people want to learn sort of old traditions and things," he said.

"We thought it would be a great opportunity to bring this workshop to fairmont and obviously people in Fairmont thought so too because we had a really good turnout," VanGilder said.

When it comes to the process of making maple syrup, a lot of sap is needed. To make just one gallon of maple syrup, it takes 40 gallons of sap.

"The main thing is to not feel overwhelmed. There is a short window of time for you to get the sap but the trees will give it to you," Keith said.

Patience is needed during this process, but Keith said it's worth the experience and the results.

"It's certainly easy to go to the store and get yourself a bottle of syrup for a dollar or two dollars and it will last you a good long while," he said. "This isn't necessarily about that. It's about keeping old traditions alive, it's about West Virginia culture, and if we don't learn that ourselves and teach that to our children then it would be unfortunate," Keith said.

"I don't want to see that die out."

For more on programs like these or other events being held at the Marion County Public Library, you can visit their website at