Vermont is typically thought of as the quintessential sugaring state, and rightly so: they produce 35% of all maple syrup made in the US. But did you know that we have 300 maple sugar producers right here in Massachusetts, and that they make 50,000 gallons of syrup each year, all within the month of March? The sugaring season is now officially underway and there’s lots of work to do. Are you interested in learning more about how syrup is made, helping to man a sugar shack, collect sap, or lug buckets of sap to the evaporator? Join Natick Community Organic Farm any day this week to assist at the farm while the sap is flowing freely. North Andover’s Turtle Lane Maple Farm, featured in our Spring 2011 issue, also welcomes visitors ever day this week to tour the farm, see how maple sugaring is done in New England, and even try some samples!
If you’d rather simply enjoy the finished product, check out Land’s Sake Farm's Sugaring Off Festival at the Weston Middle School on Saturday, March 23. Get a tour of the sugar house from its caretakers in the after-school maple program for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, chow down on pancakes and maple smoothies (made with a blender fitted on a stationary bicycle!), buy bottles of the 2013 production, and dance to the bluegrass music of The Whiskey Boys. It's fun for the whole family!
Once you’re the proud owner of a bottle of this year’s maple harvest, you’ll need recipes to go with it. There are so many ways to use this all-natural sweetener besides pouring it over your hotcakes, and the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association has you covered! Check their informative website for all kinds of delicious maple-based dishes, as well as listings of sugar houses near you.