Springtime in New Hampshire: the days are starting to get longer, (even if only by a few minutes), the sun is starting to rise higher in the sky, and the sap starts running in maple trees. That of course can only mean one thing: maple sugaring season is here! This is one of my favorite times of the year. Visit a sugarhouse this month and it might just become yours too!
As soon as I see steam billowing from a sugarhouse, it conjures up an image of the rolling boil of sap, so much so that it almost transports me to a sugarhouse where the delicious aroma wafts through the air. Maple sugaring is an annual tradition in New Hampshire and sugarhouses around the state dedicate the month of March to celebrating this sticky sweet treat.
It’s always such a treat to visit a sugarhouse in the spring, so we headed to Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason to take a tour and see the process in person!
It all starts out in the woods where maple trees are tapped and sap is collected. Many sugarers these days use tubing technology to gather their sap. But you’ll find that some places, like Parkers, use both tubing and sap buckets to collect that liquid gold! It’s pretty cool to see a nod to early sugaring operations!
There’s a long history of producing Maple Syrup here at Parker’s. Ronnie’s family has been at the helm since the late 1980’s, but Parker’s opened in 1969. You’ll find another nod to the old-fashioned tradition of making syrup is their wood-fired evaporator. When the fire is cranking, there’s nothing like stepping inside the sugarhouse to be greeted by the sweet smell of boiling sap.
Be sure to check out their display of older buckets and sugaring tools that were used in the early years here. They’ll also share with you how Native Americans made syrup by placing hot rocks into the sap.
Mother Nature plays a big role in this seasonal ritual. Maple producers need the right combo of warm days and cool nights to ensure sap is flowing. And we’re talking a lot of sap, because it takes about 40 gallons to make one gallon of pure maple syrup. But the rewards are oh so sweet! There are so many ways to enjoy it, of course on your pancakes and French toast, but what about sugar on snow! Mmmmmm!
So consider this your open invitation to stop by a New Hampshire Sugar House this month, talk with sugar makers, see a hands-on demonstration, and of course sample locally made maple syrup!
New Hampshire Maple Producers host Maple Month and have got a whole list of maple happenings around the state, including New Hampshire’s 23rd annual Maple Weekend being held March 24th and 25th. What are you waiting for? Find a sugarhouse near you and plan your visit!