Maple syrup is a breakfast-time staple in most North American homes. Whether you’re a pancake or waffle person, both can agree that syrup is a must! But how is this sticky substance made?
Early Spring is the sweet beginning of Maple season in New England! Growing up in western Massachusetts, I was lucky enough to be taken to a local sugar shack on a field trip in grade school. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much of the sugaring process…I just remember being able to taste the end product 😛 (We were given a little cup of vanilla ice cream with warm maple syrup drizzled on top..yum) My curiosity took me to YouTube in search for how maple sap is harvested and turned into the sweet syrup we know and love.
This short video of Turtle Lane Farm in North Andover, Massachusetts showcases how their family-run business thrives by creating a delicious, all-natural maple syrup. They teach locals about the process and history behind sugaring, as well.
Maple Season Events Across New England
1. Maple Days at Old Sturbridge Village – “Visit Old Sturbridge Village, a living history complex in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, during one of the four weekends in March, and you’ll have the opportunity to see sap boiled for syrup the 19th-century way… in steaming, fire-heated pots. At the Village’s Freeman Farm, costumed historians will cook with maple products by the hearth, and a variety of other demonstrations and exhibitions will give you a new appreciation for America’s favorite pancake topping.”
2. Vermont Maple Festival – “Make plans to attend this annual April celebration of syrup in St. Albans, Vermont. Most activities are free at the three-day Vermont Maple Festival, which has been a tradition for 50 years. Highlights include a parade, syrup tasting, sugarhouse tours, maple demonstrations, carnival rides, a pancake breakfast and a Maple BBQ dinner.”
3. Maine Maple Sunday – “On the fourth Sunday in March, more than 90 sugarhouses throughout Maine open their doors to visitors for an up-close look at the maple syrup-making process. Most offer free tasting of their maple products, and many have a full day of festive activities on tap. Which will you choose to tour? It’s tough to decide when their offers range from free ice cream with warm maple syrup to live music.”
4. New Hampshire Maple Weekend – “More than 60 sugar houses across the state will participate in this open house weekend. Visit a sugar house near you and learn how maple syrup is made and the modern methods used to carry on this ancient tradition. Enjoy free samples, horse-drawn rides, sugar on snow, pancake breakfasts and more!”
5. Vermont Overland Maple Adventure Ride – *My Favorite!* “Ran in conjunction with Vermont Sugar Maker’s Open House Weekend and the Woodstock Inn & Resorts Maple Madness Weekend, VOMAR is an epic gravel road bicycle ride featuring a different destination (a working Vermont sugarhouse) every year! Indulge in a well deserved maple treat upon your arrival.”
If you live in the area, or even if you are just visiting, maple season provides so many fun and educational activities to get you and the family out into the community. Learning about the sugaring process gives you an appreciation for family-run farms, the fruits of the region, and the local maple industry as a whole!
How do you enjoy maple syrup? 🙂