Maple open house weekend celebrates Vermont’s sugaring season

REGION – Local sugarhouses are firing up for the Maple Open House Weekend, March 25 and 26, a statewide event celebrating the sugaring season. Sugar makers throughout Vermont will open the doors of their sugarhouses, inviting visitors in to experience and enjoy this remarkable time of year when pure Vermont maple syrup is made. The sight of steam rising from the sugarhouse at the Farnsworth farm on Massey Road or the Wood’s farm on Weathersfield Center Road, the inviting aroma of boiling sap, and the sweetly divine flavor of syrup will offer visitors an experience for the senses!

Sugaring season got off to a fast start with warm temperatures in late February.  Many sugar makers, large-and small-scale alike, took advantage of the early run and got some sweet results.

Rob MacKenzie of Springfield boils sap on his wood stove. Photo by Karen Engdahl

“I’ve been sugaring on this property since I was a little boy,” said Rob MacKenzie of Springfield. “We’ve tapped these same trees over the generations. Last year I made about a half-gallon of syrup, just enough for us. This year the sap ran strong and I’ve already boiled at least that much.”

Walter Wallace, new to sugaring, tapped three trees in his Springfield yard and is boiling syrup on his wood stove.

  “It’s fun,” he said, “and the results are so rewarding!”

Warm temperatures were halted by a cold snap and over the past week or so there hasn’t been much steam rising from sugarhouses.

Nonetheless, visitors are stocking up on maple syrup and other maple products at larger sugarhouses like Green Mountain Sugar House in Ludlow.

“Haven’t made up my mind which kind to get,” said John Mastrorakis of Queens, New York, as he examined different grades of syrup. “I guess you can’t go wrong!”

According to Vermont Business Magazine, Vermont is the nation’s leading producer of maple syrup, setting records in 2016 for annual production of maple syrup. Last year, Vermont produced almost 2 million gallons of maple syrup, the most it ever yielded, and 47 percent (almost half) of all syrup produced in the United States. That’s enough syrup to generously cover more than 250 million pancakes, waffles or slices of French toast. In terms of revenues, that productivity accounted for more than $350 million in total sales for the state’s economy.

For more information about the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend go to where you can find a list of maple sugar producers statewide. Signature events and products associated with Maple Open House Weekend include tours of sugarhouses, maple syrup and maple specialty goods to purchase, delicious sugar-on-snow and venue-specific attractions, including pancake breakfasts, horse-drawn sleigh rides and live music.

Rob MacKenzie of Springfield has tapped these familiar maples on the family homestead for more than 50 years. Photo by Karen Engdahl
Walter Wallace of Springfield, new to sugaring, taps a maple tree in his yard. Photo Karen Engdahl

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