Sugaring in West Topsham
Now that I have lived in New England 30 years (well in a few more weeks), I believe I can speak for a time-honored tradition that we all look forward to. You know what it is, that first warm spell after a long cold winter, which means, the Sap is running!!! No matter how cold the temperature, if I am driving around, and spot a sugar house with smoke rising from it's chimney, my windows are down and I am sniffing the air with as much enthusiasm as those born in Vermont.
Today I was able to share my love for maple sugar and the wonderful tradition of a sugaring party with my brother. A close friend invited me to another family member's party, and we enthusiastically headed north on this beautifully sunny Palm Sunday.
C and J Maple is a small sugaring operation that just began a few years ago. But the enthusiasm for their work, and the many lovely people I met today made me once again appreciate the neighborly support that exists in my chosen state. Corey and Jennifer had their parents and friends on hand to help cook, stoke the stove and throw a ball to their wonderful dog Jake. Besides going to the shack, you can order directly from them too. Based on what I sampled today, they will be hearing from me often.
Though we had never met before, folks were fast to offer food, tours of the shack and answer any questions we had about sugaring. I have a lot more appreciation for my favorite, maple cream now that I know how much work it takes to make it. Ditto the candy, Making maple syrup, though historically a way for families to provide themselves with a sweetener and to alleviate the boredom of late winter, is nonetheless, hard work. Much like everything in agriculture, you are completely dependent on the weather. This year, though promising a month ago, has been challenging with the second winter we have had. But all sounded hopeful that now, with mud season truly upon us, sugaring would begin in earnest again.
Take advantage of this sweet short season and head to a sugar shack. Whether it be Vermont or New Hampshire you have plenty of opportunities to get your sweet fix. If you hit the right shack, you may be lucky enough to toss a ball to the resident greeter. And just think, soon it will be warm enough to have a Maple Creemie!