Sunday, January 18, 2009


This aggressively industrial state has made way to be known as the “Garden State” and just as pleasantly the “Clam State” for clams taken out of the Atlantic Ocean. On the contrary New Jersey has gained a reputation as the “Mosquito State.” With all of these nicknames none cover one of New Jersey’s prize crops- Maple Syrup. We have producers throughout the state making the liquid gold. Please visit the producers web-sites to learn more.

National Maple Syrup Festival 1st and 2nd Weekends in March

Maple Syrup Season is truly one of the first signs of spring, as the cold winter months slowly slip away and the forest floor comes to life. What better way to celebrate the coming of spring than to attend the first and only National Maple Syrup Festival in America.

At Burton’s Maplewood Farm, nestled in the rolling hills of Southern Indiana, you can enjoy the taste of our country made hot pancakes with 100% pure Maple Syrup all day every day. This National Festival is “Always the First and Second weekend in March” and is located two miles north of Medora, Indiana. These two weekends offer something for everyone in the family. A variety of fun-filled events, activities, Live-music & demonstrations are sure to keep you entertained and coming back for more year after year.

We have Maple Syrup from each and every Maple Syrup producing state in America. With the sweet smell of Pure Maple Syrup and Toe-Tapping sounds of the Great Smokey Mountain’s bellowing through the air, there’s no better place to be than Burton’s Maplewood Farm in Southern Indiana.

Come see what “Hoosier Hospitality” is all about

The festival is located at:
Burton’s Maplewood Farm 8121 W. County Rd. 75 South Medora, IN 47260
Tel: (812) 966-2168 Fax: (812) 966-0231


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

John Burroughs on Sugarmaking

The following selection is from the book In the Catskills Selections from the Writings of John Burroughs.

John Burroughs (April 3, 1837-March 29, 1921) was an American naturalist and essayist important in the evolution of the U.S. conservation movement. According to biographers at the American Memory project at the Library of Congress, John Burroughs was the most important practitioner after Thoreau of that especially American literary genre, the nature essay.

One of the features of farm life peculiar to this country, and one of the most picturesque of them all, is sugar-making in the maplewoods in spring. This is the first work of the season, and to theboys is more play than work. In the Old World, and in more simpleand imaginative times, how such an occupation as this would have gotinto literature, and how many legends and associations would haveclustered around it! It is woodsy, and savors of the trees; it is anencampment among the maples. Before the bud swells, before the grasssprings, before the plow is started, comes the sugar harvest. It isthe sequel of the bitter frost; a sap-run is the sweet good-by ofwinter. It denotes a certain equipoise of the season; the heat ofthe day fully balances the frost of the night. In New York and New England, the time of the sap hovers about the vernal equinox,beginning a week or ten days before, and continuing a week or ten days after.

As the days and nights get equal, the heat and cold get equal, and the sap mounts. A day that brings the bees out of the hive will bring the sap out of the maple-tree. It is the fruit ofthe equal marriage of the sun and the frost. When the frost is all out of the ground, and all the snow gone from its surface, the flowstops. The thermometer must not rise above 38 deg. or 40 deg. by day, or sink below 24 deg. or 25 deg. at night, with wind in the northwest; a relaxing south wind, and the run is over for the present. Sugarweather is crisp weather. How the tin buckets glisten in the graywoods; how the robins laugh; how the nuthatches call; how lightlythe thin blue smoke rises among the trees! The squirrels are out of their dens; the migrating water-fowls are streaming northward; the sheep and cattle look wistfully toward the bare fields; the tide ofthe season, in fact, is just beginning to rise.

Sap-letting does not seem to be an exhaustive process to the trees, as the trees of a sugar-bush appear to be as thrifty and as long-lived as other trees. They come to have a maternal, large-waisted look, from the wounds of the axe or the auger, and that is about all.

In my sugar-making days, the sap was carried to the boiling-place inpails by the aid of a neck-yoke and stored in hogsheads, and boiled or evaporated in immense kettles or caldrons set in huge stonearches; now, the hogshead goes to the trees hauled upon a sled by a team, and the sap is evaporated in broad, shallow, sheet-ironpans,--a great saving of fuel and of labor.

Many a farmer sits up all night boiling his sap, when the run has been an extra good one, and a lonely vigil he has of it amid the silent trees and beside his wild hearth. If he has a sap-house, as is now so common, he may make himself fairly comfortable; and if acompanion, he may have a good time or a glorious wake.

Maple sugar in its perfection is rarely seen, perhaps never seen, inthe market. When made in large quantities and indifferently, it is dark and coarse; but when made in small quantities--that is, quicklyfrom the first run of sap and properly treated--it has a wild delicacy of flavor that no other sweet can match. What you smell infreshly cut maple-wood, or taste in the blossom of the tree, is init. It is then, indeed, the distilled essence of the tree. Made into syrup, it is white and clear as clover-honey; and crystallized into sugar, it is as pure as the wax. The way to attain this result is to evaporate the sap under cover in an enameled kettle; when reduced about twelve times, allow it to settle half a day or more; then clarify with milk or the white of an egg. The product is virgin syrup, or sugar worthy the table of the gods.

Monday, January 5, 2009

8th Annual Maple Open House Weekend March 27-29 2009

Vermont Maple Syrup Producers Hold Eighth Annual Maple Open
House Weekend
Visitors are welcome at sugarhouses all over Vermont

The Eighth Annual Vermont Maple Open House Weekend will be held at sugarhouses
throughout Vermont, March 27-29, 2009. The Open House Weekend is the public
celebration of the maple syrup season in Vermont and an opportunity for the public to
visit one or more “sugarhouses” throughout the state. Activities during Open House
Weekend will be different at each sugarhouse but will include the opportunity to watch
maple syrup being made (weather permitting) and to often sample maple products.
“Maple sugaring is a rich part of Vermont’s identity and heritage,” said Governor Jim
Douglas. “The Maple Open House Weekend is a quintessential Vermont event that
celebrates this timeless tradition.”

Some sugarhouses offer tours of their “sugarbushes” and some have special activities for
children. No two sugarhouses are the same so people are encouraged to visit more than
one. “There is nothing sweeter than visiting a local sugar house. From the tree to the
table, you’ll see firsthand why Vermonters make the finest maple syrup in the world,”
said Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee.

Maple season in Vermont is a special time when maple producers all around the state
collect sap from sugar maples and boil it down to pure Vermont maple syrup. Steam
billowing from sugarhouse roofs all around the state is a sign that sap is boiling.

Information about all of the participating maple syrup producers including which of the
three days they will be open and directions to their sugarhouses can be found on or in the “2009 Vermont Ski & Year-round Maple Syrup Guide”
which can be picked up at any Vermont Welcome Center, or by calling the Vermont
Department of Tourism & Marketing at 800-837-6668.

Also, the Governor’s Tree Tapping event will be held at Middlebury College,
Middlebury, Vermont at 11:00 a.m. on March 6. Governor Jim Douglas is scheduled to
tap a sugar maple tree, celebrating sugaring season in Vermont. The Vermont mobile
sugarhouse will be there with sugar-on-snow, cotton candy and other maple delights
available for the public. There will also be a variety of displays about maple sugaring.

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has selected the Vermont Maple Open House
Weekend as one of the “Top 25 Events for Kids”.

Vermont is the largest U.S. producer of maple syrup and approximately 500,000 gallons
or 5.5 million pounds of syrup is produced in Vermont annually.

Ice Storms Ruin Many Northeastern Farms

Maple Syrup Farmers Hit Hard by Ice Storm
By Miranda Grossman
Story Published: Jan 2, 2009 at 7:14 PM EST
Story Updated: Jan 2, 2009 at 7:14 PM EST

Things are getting a little sticky for maple syrup producers in Western Massachusetts. Local farmers are dealing with the aftermath of damaged trees from last month's ice storm.
Much of Tom McCrumm's 80 acres of sugar maples barely made it through last month's ice storm.

"To see this kind of damage is nauseating," said McCrumm.

McCrumm's been in the maple syrup business for more than 30 years, but he's never seen an ice storm devastate his South Face Farm in Ashfield like this one.

"Here are two other smaller trees that will never come into production because they've been uprooted," explained McCrumm pointing to fallen trees.

McCrumm and other Western Massachusetts syrup farmers worst fear came true, when the ice storm toppled trees, ripped down limbs, and tore apart the tubing that collects the sap. "Not only have I loss some trees entirely because it snapped off or uprooted, a lot of the ones that are damaged I won't be able to tap for 5 or 10 years until they recover," said McCrumm.

About 100 farms across Western Massachusetts are suffering losses, but those hit the hardest were ones at higher elevations. It takes about 50 years for a sugar maple to grow back to a tappable size, leaving many maple producers severely effected. "I would estimate that the state is going to have 50% of its normal production this year," said McCrumm.

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