With sugaring season in full season for 2017, New England maple houses and state associations are making the most of the opportunity to demonstrate the sweetness of maple syrup.
“The main [maple event] that we are focused on as an association is Maple Open House Weekend,” said Amanda Voyer, administrative and communications coordinator of Jericho-based Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association. “It’s Saturday and Sunday (March 25-26) as we typically have it at the end of March.”
The state-wide event, Voyer explained, gives any member of the association a chance to give the public an opportunity to learn about the sugaring process. While each sugar house can present visitors with whatever they want, common offerings include “a traditional spring time treat, sugar on snow, which is boiled syrup that’s poured on snow to become taffy-like, often served with donuts or pickles to offer a sour contrast to maple’s inherent sweetness.”
Voyer noted that open house weekend has always been sugar houses open for the public.
“This year we have invited other businesses that also use maple as an ingredient through Vermont to showcase different uses for maple,” she said. “We’re going to have quite a number of new featured events this year to really help market and showcase that maple can be used beyond the breakfast table and pancakes.”
Members have infused maple syrup in a variety of ways that include maple flatbread pizzas, wine and cocktails. Local businesses such as Switchback Brewing Co., creating a maple beer float. Working with another local vendor, Lake Champlain Chocolates, the brewery is combining their beer products with chocolate ice cream to create what Voyer described as a “maple beet float” featuring maple syrup drizzled on top to show maple syrup’s culinary versatility.
Next door in New Hampshire, the state’s Maple Producers Association will hold maple sugar houses openings during its Maple Month celebration running from March 11-April 2. One highlight during Maple Month that Fadden points out includes the Association’s Annual Maple Weekend (March 25-26).
“There are over 100 sugar houses throughout the state that’ll be open with varying activities [including] sap gathering contests, pancake breakfasts, serving coffee, sugar on snow — each one is a little different,” said association president Jim Fadden. Fadden’s own sugaring operation will offer visitors New England’s own sugar on snow treats, boiling demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides, along with sample tastings.