Sugar Shack

Can you smell it? It’s sweet. It’s a beautiful amber color. It’s New Hampshire Maple Syrup being made all across the state. Last week, we spent a day enjoying a front row seat at our friends’ Sugar Shack in Alexandria while they worked their magic.

It may seem like a simple project to collect sap and boil it down. But, it takes a lot of planning and hard work. There were the twelve cords of wood that had to be chopped and stacked, miles of lines that had to be set, and trees that had to be individually tapped.

Once the days warmed up but the nights continued to stay cold, the sap started flowing into the collection tanks at their various sites. It then has to be pumped into the tank in the back of the truck, transported and pumped into the tank on the side of the building where it flows into the evaporator inside. The sap is boiled down at around 218 degrees.

Once is reaches the correct temperature, it is run through a filter press and then a canner to fill the bottles. It takes approximately forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of Maple Syrup.


In case you ever wondered why pure Maple Syrup is so expensive, it is definitely the amount of work required to produce it. Once the sap starts flowing the work continues non stop until the end of the season. The end of the season includes quite a lengthy clean up process in the shack and with the lines and spiles used to tap the tree.

If you’re ever in the area, boiling starts around 4 a.m. Stop on by but be sure to wear layers because you’ll be taking them off as the temperature starts to rise. It gets hot in there.

Maple SyrupOur friends are good, kind, hard-working folks who produce the best Maple Syrup around, and their list of satisfied customers is proof of that.

I’d give you contact info but they are sold out every year before they even start the season. I thank my lucky stars that they gift their friends with it. Pure New Hampshire Maple Syrup is a gift that is never returned or exchanged. 🙂

“There’s a crazy little shack beyond the tracks, And ev’rybody calls it the sugar shack…”

2016-02-29 13.08.48

Have a great week. I’m off to make pancakes so I have something to hold my Maple Syrup. 🙂

About Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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52 Responses to Sugar Shack

  1. joyroses13 says:

    Ahh! Nothing like real maple syrup! Now I am hungry for pancakes as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember the smell and the wonderful taste! We were in Maine one year (this was before our RV and we flew there) and visited a farm on Maple Sunday. I bought so much maple syrup from them I had to mail it back! It’s hard to find American pure maple syrup in the stores where I live, most of what’s on the shelves comes from Canada. Enjoy yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joey says:

    Wonderful! My maple syrup connection is in northern Wisconsin, but I’ve loved many. I use it in grits more than on pancakes. You’da made me hungry, but I just had my peanut butter toast!
    I remember when daughter #2 found out maple syrup came from trees and swore she’d never eat it again. That didn’t last one bit. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan Antion says:

    I love pancakes and we’ve used pure maple syrup from somewhere in New England, as long as I can remember. It’s also very nice when it runs off and gets on the bacon. I’ve seen documentaries about it being made, but I’ve never seen it first hand. I can only try to imagine the smell.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sue says:

    Never thought about it before but I wonder if the taste varies…soil, climate etc. From some of your blog friends comments, it would seem so. And who was the industrious and brave soul who figured out how to get to the “gold” Sounds like a fun weekend. I’m off to Google maple syrup

    Liked by 1 person

  6. KerryCan says:

    I love everything about this! I grew up on a farm with a sugar shack and I have seriously fond childhood memories of sugaring down. My cousins still do the whole process you describe here and the highlight of spring is the big pancake breakfast at their place–hundreds come!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I visited a Sugar Shack one Spring day in Canada…it was the best maple syrup I ever had!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Donna says:

    Love the article. You have such a great way with words. Hopefully sap will run today and we can boil again tomorrow!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Laurie Graves says:

    Clif and I are a very frugal couple, but we only buy real maple syrup and think it is money well spent. Love this piece about the one thing that makes March in northern New England bearable. That is, maple syrup 😉


  10. Dawn says:

    So fascinating, Judy! I love reading about the whole process from tree to table. Just one more thing that makes New Hampshire so special! Hope your whole week is sweet, Judy! ♡

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Being Canadian, my family loves maple syrup, Judy. We still have our sap buckets from back when we took care of my husband’s family’s farm. And the local maple syrup festival always heralds the approach of spring. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post, Judy. I’ve seen the buckets up and trucks going around to collect the sap. There is nothing like the real thing. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Joyce says:

    Fascinating! What a quaint little place from which pours liquid gold!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. germac4 says:

    Lovely to see a family business doing well. Our neighbours spent some time in the US and one of the things they miss most is really good maple syrup!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Nancy says:

    I have purchased maple syrup from a maple syrup farm right up the road from my Lake-house in Pennsylvania! Can’t get anything on the store shelves that tastes like homemade!
    In Ohio in the Cleveland Metroparks they have a maple syrup day way they share how it is made etc. WHAT FUN that is for all who attend.
    This sugar shack looks awesome and what a fun day for you! Okay… I need real maple syrup… a little hard to find here in the desert!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh goodness, we decided not to tap many trees this year. We’ll probably regret this, too! Fortunately, there are some good producers right in the neighborhood..our friend Gene who up until recently still collected buckets using his grand pair of Percherons. It is certainly a staple in the pantry…..liquid gold! By the way, love the little ‘crazy little shack across the tracks’ reference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That reference was just for you. 🙂 Oh how I would love to see your friend Gene collect his sap. Now that would be a treat. We did it for about three years here on the property. It was fun every day to go out and see if the buckets were full. What wasn’t fun was trying to boil it down on small stoves. We gave up doing it ourselves, but never gave up enjoying the process. It soothes the soul to experience something with such history.


      • So true , Judy…..I think in these times of technology and a lean towards global trade, we crave those soulful experiences that do in fact connect us to our past and a handmade life. Which reminds me…check out the book ‘A Handmade Life”, by Bill Coperthwaite. He has passed on, lived in Machais, Maine, and wrote a beautiful book celebrating just that…a handmade life. I think you would love it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just contact the library to see if they can find it for me because it is not on their list. Thank you for the suggestion. I worked outside today for a couple of hours picking up branches and sticks, taking covers off bushes, etc. all the while listening to the birds chirping away. It was wonderful. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  17. pagedogs says:

    We are fortunate to have lots of local syrup producers in our neck of the woods, too. I cannot tell the difference between syrup from Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine. They all taste like heaven to me. Nothing better than wild Maine blueberry pancakes and local bacon with plenty of maple syrup. But, I’m not picky, I use maple syrup to sweeten most everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Have a blogger / quilter friend visiting family in Vermont and taking syrup back home…she’d mentioned it the other day and I told her about yours in N.H each year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. There is nothing like real maple syrup! I love it on vanilla ice cream. I would probably drink all the profits if I worked there. Ha ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Grandma Kc says:

    That syrup sounds so good and I bet it does taste amazing. Good thing you have such generous friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Few things more delicious than buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. RuthsArc says:

    What a wonderful post and comments. This Brit, living in Australia, has learned something today. I’m adding maple syrup to my shopping list and planning pancakes and bacon for breakfast at the weekend. Many thanks Judy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I can smell from here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. pommepal says:

    Lucky you having these friends. What an interesting description you give of the process.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Just the mention of real maple Syrup makes my taste buds wake up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I love my Maple Syrup Judy and had no idea how it’s produced. I’ve always been happy to pay the price as I think the flavour is well worth it. Thank you so much for the lesson and like they say, you like and learn! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. reocochran says:

    Our local boy scout Camp Lazarus here in Delaware, Ohio had. Pancakes breakfast with fresh from the fire pot of maple syrup, Judy. Your Sugar Shack visit I am sure was heavenly scented. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Hemangini says:

    you and few fellow bloggers who are posting about maple sugaring are making me so hungry for it… Wonder how it tastes… Would love to try the freshly made one day.. thanks for sharing this awesomeness ❤


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