It’s a Sweet Season
- Visit North Central
- Posted on March 1, 2018
Before the crocus buds peek through the snow, even before Red Sox fans start thinking about the World Series, New Englanders start dreaming of maple syrup.
The sweet, sticky topping that makes a breakfast of pancakes sing runs in the veins of New England natives. But before becoming that luscious golden nectar, the sweet liquid must be harvested from maple trees, transported to a sugar house and boiled amid clouds of steam.
Early New England settlers, though possibly intimidated by today’s stainless steel evaporators used for boiling and miles of plastic tubing that carry the sap to the sugarhouse, would easily recognize the age-old production process.
Stop by a sugarhouse in Johnny Appleseed Country, and you’ll find roaring wood fires and billows of steam as 40 gallons of sap are reduced to a single gallon of the heavenly treat.
Watch it Happen!
You can see this magical process in action, usually starting in late February and running into early April — though Mother Nature pulls the strings for that schedule. The collection of maple sap requires cold nights and warm, sunny days, leaving farmers on pins and needles as they anxiously await that perfect combination.
But the results are always worth the wait.
Generations of New Englanders harbor fond childhood memories of hot syrup poured over bowls filled with snow, creating an almost-instant gooey, taffy-like concoction. Can’t you just taste that super sweetness already?
The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association has created a brochure, map and online listing (at massmaple.org) of sugarhouses that welcome visitors. Copies are also available in the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center on Route 2 westbound.
While you’re in Johnny Appleseed Country, stop by these local sugarhouses to see the magic happen, and to sample one of life’s greatest pleasures!