The Sweetest Season

  • Visit North Central

maple bucket in snow at big head freds

The short, but very sweet, maple sugaring season has begun in North Central Massachusetts —and it’s one you won’t want to miss!

As winter began to fade, sugar makers anxiously waited for “sugar weather,” when the nights are below freezing and the days are mild—the weather that makes the sap flow.

Did you know that you need 10 gallons of sap to make one quart of syrup? Or that it takes about 40 years for a tree to reach “tappable” size?  Or that a healthy sugar maple can provide sap every year for a hundred years or more?

Throughout the region now, you can spot buckets that collect, and tubing that transports, the clear sap from thousands of maple trees. The destination: local sugar houses, where the sap will be boiled (and boiled, and boiled) in large evaporators to produce the thick, caramel-colored syrup that turns any breakfast into a sweet treat. The clouds of steam rising above those sugar houses are a visible sign that the magic is taking place—and it’s time to stop by for a visit (and a sample).

Maple season usually starts here in mid- to late February—but moves into high gear in March … and is celebrated in earnest on Massachusetts Maple Weekend! This year’s special weekend takes place on March 16 & 17, so set a reminder on your calendar, and make plans to head out to watch the magic happen!

Bring the family to see the process in action, to get a taste of the just-made syrup, and in some sugarhouses, sample that very special treat: syrup poured onto snow to create a gooey treat.

Here are a few spots in the region that will be welcoming visitors on Mass. Maple Weekend and throughout the short season:

Hollis Hills Farm, 340 Marshall Rd., Fitchburg. The sugar house will be open from 9 am to 3 pm for walk-through viewings and, of course, some tasty sugar on snow! The retail store will also be open with coffee, donuts, and other delicious maple treats! Visit

Big Head Fred’s, 417 Flat Hill Rd., Lunenburg. Stop by from 11 am–4 pm on March 16 & 17 for maple candies, maple kettle corn, maple cotton candy, sugar on snow, maple roasted peanuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans. Learn more at

Boggastowe Farm, 20 Shattuck Street, Pepperell.  From 11 am-4 pm on March 16 or 12-4 pm on March 17, you can enjoy some complimentary sap tea or coffee, help gather sap and view the process from tree to jug. Try the maple products including sap, syrup, maple cream, maple sugar, maple cotton candy or sugar on snow! See Boggastowe Farm on Facebook.

To learn more about maple trees, the maple sugar process, and some interesting facts about maple syrup and its history, visit the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association at