Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Maple Sugar Shacks

I was first tipped off to the season of maple sugaring from a friend of mine who grew up in the area. And then another friend mentioned seeing buckets on trees. And then I realized that I had been seeing buckets on trees, too! And lo, we're nearing the end of February -- the season of Maple -- when the sap starts to run and the sugar houses start getting busy.

I remember once my father tapping maple trees in Ohio when I was growing up. He boiled down the sap in a large pot on the stove and then got distracted doing something else and let it burn. That was a sad sad day in our house. But it takes an awful lot of sap to make a little bit of syrup, and I find the process quite interesting (in many ways, my father's daughter). So following the interest, I poked around a bit to find some local maple sugar shacks. I discovered only two in Belchertown; both of them seem to welcome visitors, should you feel inclined to make a field trip. Check out the following links for schedules, tours, and more information. I'm hoping to make a visit or two this season, and when I do, I'll be sure to post something up.

Desjardins Maple Syrup
Shattuck's Sugar House

Perhaps you're a hands-on person like my dad and you want to start your own sugaring system. There are any number of websites that will explain the process. If you want to get official, equipment can be found at Devon Lane (according to online sources of information) on Rt 202 in Belchertown.

There are plenty of other maple sugaring/syruping places local to Belchertown, too, if you want to get out of town for an excursion.
Here's a list from the Valley Viewpoint.
And here's Google's list for "near Belchertown."
My current pick from these two lists is Blue Heron Farm (check out the Fjord horses!).

Enjoy the season and see if you can't tap into something sweet!


Kristin said...

So, is Blue Heron Farm near Belchertown? Sounds perfect. I think your father plants maple seedlings in the hope that some day he will be able to tap again - maybe with better success than "in town." Chagrin, Ohio has a Maple Sugaring Festival, I believe. Is it really that time already?

Mary Pugh said...

We would LOVE to go "maple sugaring with you" Jack watches Caillou (PBS kids show) and Caillou gets to see how the sap comes out and is turned into Maple if you are going...let us know and MAYBE we could join you! If not...we're watching and waiting for the Spring thaw to come out and check out the Belch! We sure miss you guys!

emily said...

That sounds like fun! If we plan it early enough & in advance, I'll let you know!

katie said...

that's just plain cool. i remember when dad tapped the tree(s). i don't remember it not working, though. i must've been too young. i don't suppose tapping a maple tree would run very well out here in san francisco. eucalyptus syrup anyone?


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