04 Mar Welcome to March! It’s Maple Sugar Month!
This has not been a typical winter—we’ve had many warm spells and not much snow. However, the maple trees always know when it’s time to run, and the sap is now rising. Little buds as well as taps can now be seen on trees all over New Hampshire. Maple sugar producers are preparing for the big harvest of our sweet harbinger of spring!
If you’d like to experience this old-fashioned New England tradition and see the process up close in the Lakes Region, you can get in on all the maple sugaring action at Prescott Farm in Laconia. Every Saturday throughout March, Prescott Farm welcomes the public to its Maple Sugar Madness program, where visitors can learn everything about the techniques of sugaring—from tapping to tasting!
Starting this weekend, the program runs three times each Saturday: from 10 – 11:30, 12 – 1:30, and 2 – 3:30. Guests will have an opportunity for hands-on participation in every step of the syrup-making process. The farm’s environmental educators help visitors build tree identification skills, learn the parts of a tree, and discover how each part functions. Then visitors use measuring tools to find an appropriate maple tree to tap, and try their hands at historical as well as modern tree tapping tools. The experience is enhanced with presentations of the history of maple sugaring, including Native American legends. Guests also learn the math and science involved in the boiling process. Then it’s time to taste the results!
This program does involve a 20-minute walk to the Sugar House and a hike back up the hill after the program, so dress appropriately for the weather, and don’t forget your snow boots! Snowshoes are available if needed, but bring your own if you have them! Reservations are required for this fun event, and the cost is $10 per person ($8 for members of Prescott Farm, and ages 3 and under are free!). For more information visit prescottfarm.org, and to reserve your spot, please call 603-366-5695.
Many other NH maple producers are gearing up the 21st Annual NH Maple Weekend taking place March 19th & 20th this year. In addition, several maple houses will be celebrating Maple Month with open houses every weekend March 12th through April 3rd. Sugarhouses will be open to visit and will have plenty of fresh maple syrup and other maple products on hand. Some locations will be offering pancake breakfasts, while others will have live entertainment and family activities. Every sugarhouse offers a great learning experience about one of the Granite State’s oldest industries. Visit the NH Maple Producers website at www.nhmapleproducers.com for more information and to use the interactive Maple Sugar Houses map to find a sugar house in your area. Also check out NH.com for a list of maple sugar season events in the state.
Celebrate the sweetest season of the year—now is the time to experience this centuries-old craft, stock up on real NH maple syrup, and support our local maple producers!
For additional information on Meredith and some of the great events happening around the Lakes Region, visit www.meredithareachamber.com and www.lakesregion.org. And don’t forget to stop by the Mill Falls at the Lake website, too, at www.millfalls.com.
The Mill Falls Blogging Team
photo sourced from prescottfarm.org