Maple Season: Spring’s Sweet Farewell to Winter
Yes, the sap is running, but it is maple season, too. Spring is Maple Time in Concord, the pinnacle of “sugaring time” in the heart of Maple Country. March 23 and 24, 2019 is Maple Weekend in New Hampshire. And, with more than 50 sugarhouses open throughout the state, New Hampshire’s spring ritual of making syrup is emerging as a popular weekend travel adventure. Take the opportunity to tour maple groves and sugarhouses and learn how maple syrup is made. Taste free samples of maple products and fill up on pancake breakfasts. Gather sap with horses or oxen; take a horse-drawn hayride, or tour barnyards to see common and exotic animals. Here is all the information you need to create a story on this emerging travel trend.
From mid-February through early April, the state’s maple producers work away in their sugarhouses to boil maple tree sap down to syrup, and they invite the public to participate in this labor-intensive harvest. Maple Weekend brings special activities throughout the state, with inns and restaurants offering package deals. Visitors should go to https://nhmapleproducers.com to get details.
On a well-planned weekend trip to the Concord Region, visitors might sample a leather apron sugar-on-snow (warm syrup poured over snow or ice to make a taffy-like confection), ride a horse-drawn sleigh, carry the sap buckets, meet a team of oxen, or sip a maple milk shake. They’ll learn the history of this harvest, done much as it was 200 years ago by small, family-run operations. The result is a product that is 100 percent pure (there’s nothing in maple syrup except maple sap).
Maple Sugaring Facts & Figures
· New Hampshire is in the center of Maple Country. Pure maple syrup is only produced in North America in a region stretching from southeastern Canada to northern Ohio. Sugar maples grow nowhere else on earth.
· One in every four trees in northern New England is a sugar maple.
· Abolitionists promoted maple syrup in New England to reduce reliance on cane sugar, which was harvested by West Indian slaves. “Suffer not your cup to be sweetened by the blood of slaves,” they advised.
· Maple syrup is processed on small farms and family-run operations throughout New Hampshire, with 600 to 1,000 producers turning out 60,000 to 80,000 gallons annually.
· Sap can be tapped from a tree only when nighttime temperatures are below freezing and daytime temperatures are above freezing. In New Hampshire, that means the harvest or “sugaring season” is an intense six weeks or less.
· Raw sap looks like water and contains 2 percent sugar. It takes 25 to 75 gallons of raw sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup.
· The darker the syrup color, the stronger the maple flavors.
Fun Things You Might Get to Eat at a New Hampshire Sugarhouse
- Sugar-on-Snow: pouring newly boiled syrup over snow or shaved ice makes This unofficial symbol of the sugaring season. This produces a taffy-like substance you eat by twirling with a fork. Also called “leather aprons” or “leather britches”
- Maple pepper (sprinkle it on vegetables)
- Rolled pancakes or homemade donuts dipped in hot syrup
- Maple milk shakes or sundaes
With so many great sugar shacks and pancake houses around Concord, the capital city is your base to enjoy the season!
Pancake Houses include:
931 Flanders Rd, Henniker, NH 03242
15 Parker Hill Rd, Sanbornton, NH 03269
The NH Maple Producers Association has a complete directory of sugar houses- but here are a few in the Concord area
Elm Street, Concord, NH
Saturday & Sunday March 23 & 24, 2019
Join them for some live music, maple frappes and many maple samples.
1089 Route 106 North
Maple Tree Farm
105 Oak Hill Road
Concord, NH 03301
268 Loudon Ridge Road, Loudon, NH
845 Loudon Ridge Road Loudon NH 03307-1712
271 Hackleboro Road Canterbury NH 03224
601 Loudon Ridge Road, Loudon, NH
1 Beaver Brook Drive, Bow, NH
276 Queen Street, Boscawen, NH, 03033
21 Foster Road Loudon NH 03307
612 Route 129, Loudon, NH 03307
171 Oak Hill Road, Concord, NH 03301
59 Bee Hole Road, Loudon, NH 03307