How sweet it is

Sugar ShackIt’s sugaring season here in New Hampshire. You can smell the wood burning outside and once you enter the Sugar Shack there is that wonderful fragrance of maple syrup in the air.

For a nature lover, it is a real thrill watching clear maple tree sap turn into beautiful golden maple syrup.

Last summer they cut and stacked well over 12 cords of wood, identified more maple trees for tapping, and ran lines.

Once March arrived, the spiles were attached to the trees and lines, and collection containers assembled.

PailsCollage

After the spiles are in the trees and the sapTanksCollage starts running, a collection process is needed to get the sap from the fields back to the outside tank at the sugar shack.

Our friends use a pump to get it from the containers in their many fields to the tank in the back of their truck. Once they get back to the sugar shack, they pump it from the truck into the elevated tank. Then the sap flows into the shack for boiling to evaporate the water and finish up the maple syrup.

Did you know approximately 40 gallons of sap is needed to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup?

BoilCollage

Once it has reached the correct temperature, it is filtered, bottled, graded, numbered, and labeled.

BottleCollage

We had a lot of fun spending the day at the Lowell’s Sugar Shack in Alexandria watching them work their magic to produce delicious New Hampshire Maple Syrup. They have been doing this for many years and have a lot of experience adjusting to what each new sugaring season brings.

But, I do hope Mother Nature gives them favorable sugaring weather this week because sun filled days and cooler nights are needed for the sap to run.

This weekend is Maple Weekend across the state of New Hampshire.

The Lowells are well known in the Alexandria/Bristol area for being the kind of neighbors we all wish we had, working with the snowmobiling community, enjoying summer camping, for their year round hospitality, and their famous maple donuts on Maple Weekend.

Sugar on snowSyrup will be for sale this weekend at the Sugar Shack and just maybe they’ll have enough left over to boil and make  sugar on snow because that’s a dessert worth working and waiting for and my favorite.

Maple Weekend is another wonderful opportunity to support the people in your community who work so hard to provide food for your table that is locally produced. And, we all know locally grown and produced is the best. 🙂

About Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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55 Responses to How sweet it is

  1. Donna says:

    Thank you for the wonderful endorsement.

    Like

  2. Boeta says:

    Very nice..yumm. lovely post.

    Like

  3. wow, that’s an amazing process! There’s nothing quite like real maple syrup. Forty gallons of sap explains why it costs a bit more. I love your new blog layout, it looks great!

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  4. pbmgarden says:

    I can almost smell and taste it Judy. Very nice article and pictures.

    Like

  5. What a lovely post!! When we lived in Canada, we so enjoyed Maple syrup weekend and watching the sugaring of. Hmmm, I am of to the kitchen now..making pancakes..i suddenly have a craving for it ;0) warm greetings form Johanna

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  6. quiltify says:

    It is such a process, but the result is oh so good! I love pure maple syrup…and honey.

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  7. What a process ! I do hope you bought a bottle to bring home and savor. It really is a wonderful story. 60 gallons for 1 gallon! That is a lot of work!

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  8. Would love to see this in person!!!

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  9. We lived in Lebanon, NH for a short period. I do remember the wonder sights and aromas related to the collection. It is amazing how the sap from a tree can be so tasty.

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  10. Eliza Waters says:

    Terrific post, Judy! Great photos and lots of details to the processing. Its history is fascinating and many generations are involved.
    I did a post a year ago on our local sugar house and was going to do an update, but sadly we drove by yesterday to see firetrucks & firefighters battling a blaze. I don’t know the details, but clearly the wood fire got out of control. So upsetting. As you know, these folks work so hard and it pains me to see them suffer a loss such as this right in the middle of the season.

    Like

    • Thank you. I am so sorry to hear about the sugar house fire. You can certainly understand between the wood fire and the various propane fires that it is a dangerous process and surrounded by a constant supply of wood is not a good combination. Here’s hoping they may rebuild for next year because there are never enough maple syrup producers.

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      • Eliza Waters says:

        I got the details today. A spark from the chimney came down and ignited the supply of wood on the side. The equipment and shop were spared – whew- the owner is a firefighter and knew what to do and the FD responded quickly to contain the blaze. It sounded as if a work bee would enable them to produce this year. Yay! for them and us! 🙂 Don’t you just love good news?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah to good news, and I got goosebumps thinking about a work bee to enable them to complete their sugaring season. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza Waters says:

        We have great community here. This family traces its roots to our town founders, so they are woven into the fabric of this town. Really good folk, too.

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  11. Joyce says:

    Now I understand why the authentic product is so expensive – but so well worth it! Very interesting post! You are fortunate to be right in the middle of the best product available! I heartily agree with you about supporting local food suppliers. For us, it is apples and cherries that abound and roadside stands are where we go to buy!

    Like

  12. Norm 2.0 says:

    I love my real maple syrup, none of that artificial stuff for me. My uncle used to own a sugar shack here north of Montréal. Most folks don’t realize how much hard work goes into producing this stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ogee says:

    I know it is made in spring, but the smell takes me back to upstate NY orchards in the fall…maple syrup candy, fresh apple pies, and cinnamon donuts. Yum…

    Like

  14. sally says:

    Definitely a harbinger of spring! It looks like a lot of fun…..and so good!

    Like

  15. The truest sign of Spring – when the sap starts to run! Hurrah! Delicious post 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lorrie says:

    Real maple syrup is so wonderful! I’ve never seen maple sugaring and it looks like it would be a fun thing to experience. Hooray for maple trees.

    Like

  17. I love real maple syrup! With butter and pancakes, naturally. Sugar maples are few and far between around here, but when my older son lived in Montreal it was like maple syrup heaven. I always wanted to visit him in spring!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Dawn says:

    So fascinating! I just loved learning about this special sign of Spring in New England, Judy! I have a whole new appreciation for real maple syrup. I hope we can plan a trip to New Hampshire in March one year. It’s such a ‘sweet’ addition to our bucket list! Thank you so much for sharing sugaring season with us! ♡

    Like

  19. MiaMusings says:

    Never gave maple syrup so much thought before. But this post is as informative as it is yum! Making me yearn for some right now 🙂

    Like

  20. Wonderful post Judy…sugar season, so classic New England. We tap here, just enough to provide syrup for the year ( hopefully). My fathers family( from Vermont) always claims that their maple syrup is the best, compared to ours here in Maine…..they syrup commercially. This could be true based on soil minerals and such. When my daughter was about 6 we were visiting family in Vermont, we stopped for breakfast in a little rural diner. She ordered pancakes and then asked the waitress if they had any real Maine maple syrup. Too funny! You can imagine the heads turning, dining Vermonters all loyal to their own sugaring grounds! I think real maple syrup is worth it’s weight in gold…..New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine…..no matter…it’s all sweet maple goodness!

    Like

    • Last week, I went to lunch with a friend to a breakfast type restaurant and they had a plastic bottle of ‘syrup’ on each table. Before I ordered, I asked if that was the syrup they used, and she said ‘yes.’ If I wanted real syrup, they sold it in small bottles. 🙂 Real syrup from VT, ME, or NH is a good thing. I would have loved to have seen the look on the waitress when your daughter asked for ME syrup in VT. Priceless. 🙂

      Like

  21. How sweeeeet it is!

    Like

  22. pagedogs says:

    There’s nothing like maple syrup on snow–sweet stickiness all over your teeth with bits of cold snow–yummmm.

    Like

  23. I love maple syrup but we have to buy it in jars! Probably imported from your part of the world!
    Malc

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Annie says:

    Such a good post about the process! We, as NH newbies, had no idea of the complexity until we visited a sugar house last March. We picked a good one though and we’re ‘on tap’ to visit them again this weekend.

    Like

  25. Denzil says:

    Very interesting post Judy. I was wondering if you get different types of maple syrup depending on the type of maple, or the geographical location?

    Like

    • Thought provoking question. I can tell you from experience sugar maples run while other maples drip. 🙂 We even tapped an oak one year by mistake and got some sap. The sap all turns into maple syrup but it can be different grades based on color. And, yes the trees and location play a role. Once the trees start to bud, the season is over. Do you have any maple trees? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Denzil says:

        We have members of the maple family Judy, but as far as I know, not the ones you have that can be tapped. And certainly not in the numbers that grow in New Hampshire.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Maple sugaring! WOnderful! It’s so expensive and now we see why!

    Liked by 1 person

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