Maple time in New England brings out the essence of the trees and the character in the people. For those who love trees, a tongue-tip taste of fresh maple syrup is a sacrament, maple communion at the end of a long winter. To ingest the distilled essence of trees confers the spirit of the forest itself.
Dozens of sugar shacks across New Hampshire are opening up to visitors for Maple Weekend. A typical operation is Courser Farm’s Sugar King’s shack in Warner. The building is dominated by a huge wood-powered syrup boiler. Visitors pack in almost shoulder-to-shoulder sampling cups of syrup and homemade donuts. Penny Courser is one of several family members who pitch in for the weekend. She says they expect to see anywhere from 200 to 500 people for the weekend.
We asked Douglas Whynott to stay a few extra minutes for a sticky challenge: a blind maple syrup taste-test. The aim was to test his ability to distinguish between the various grades of maple syrup. We sat down with five cups paper cups - three were filled with varieties of grade “A” amber – light, medium, and dark. There was also a cup with grade “B” syrup, which has a stronger maple flavor and has traditionally been used for cooking, and of course the ringer – a brand-name artificial syrup. And because you can tell a lot by the color of syrup, both Douglas and I donned blindfolds for the occasion – well, not blindfolds exactly. Our producers tied one of my scarves around Doug’s head, and I wore my winter hat over my eyes, to prevent any accidental or intentional cheating. For good measure, we videotaped the taste test, so you can see for yourselves, there was NO cheating.
Relentlessly bitter temperatures mean maple sugaring season is still a good way off. That’s according to Beaver Meadow Brook Farm co-owner Barbara Lassonde. She says typically, her farm in Warner starts seeing sap runs during the last two weeks in February.
It’ll likely be several more weeks before most of New Hampshire's syrup producers boiling their sap into maple goodness, but there are big ideas and changes in the air these days around syrup production, from new grading standards for syrup-producing states and Canadian provinces, to research on sap that suggests syrup could be produced in a way that's something akin to a row crop.
All of the pleasure, none of the guilt. Our Saturday show gets you caught up, in a convenient snack pack size. This week….A video game attempts to replicate the experience of autism; spying in space with the help of spectroscopy; a look back to when Peyton Place was in its heyday, almost 60 years ago; the delicious and sweet tradition of capturing maple syrup; making music by “playing” a tower; and a musician gives a private concert in Studio D, then talks about teenage inspiration and her love of pie.
It's Maple Weekend in the Granite State. More than 110 farms and sugar shacks will be open to the public with demonstrations of syrup production, maple products to taste and buy, and hands-on activities. Hippo Editor Amy Diaz has some highlights.
Maple Weekend begins Saturday in New Hampshire, and that means Sugar Houses in the state are open to the public with boiling sap and sweet syrup to sample. And syrup producers around the state say they are hoping for a strong season this year.
Paul Weeks would rather be in his sugar orchard checking sap lines for leaks or adjusting the boil on his evaporator. But today’s bitter chill has given him an unwanted break.
As producers prepare for Maple Weekend, New Hampshire Maple Producers Association Treasurer Howard Pearl tells us what maple syrup and other products mean to the state economy- and how the sap is flowing this year.
This weekend is maple syrup weekend in New Hampshire – true, you might not be thinking of sugar and sap given this week’s record breaking temperatures, but more than 100 New Hampshire sugarhouses are opening their doors this weekend and sharing a little of the sweet stuff for visitors.