As springtime approaches each year with cold nights and warm days, it is sugaring time around here. Maple trees are being tapped now and when temperatures are just right, the sap flows.
The maple sugar operation in New Hampshire is celebrated on Maple Weekend every March by throwing opening the doors of participating sugarhouses across the state and inviting in the public. Some serve pancakes or waffles with maple syrup or they may offer hay rides, but with a grandbaby in tow, we decided to visit the one closest to our home. Willow Creek Sugarhouse in East Kingston is about a 20 minute drive from us and sounded perfect.
This being our first exposure to sugaring, we were there to observe the maple syrup operation and to learn all we could. Brad Rice and his family own and live on the property at Willow Creek Sugarhouse. The business of sugaring looked like a family affair. We were able to see the pipelines snaking through the woods to large holding tanks, watch the sap dripping in buckets, stand around the wood fired boiling listening to Brad explain the business of sugaring. We introduced our grandson to chickens and chicks, and left with Willow Creek honey, maple covered nuts, maple pancake mix, maple sugar candy. What a way to spend a morning!
Last month we learned that Willow Creek Sugarhouse won second place overall in the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association’s Carlisle Award. Boy, do we know how to pick them! This year Maple Weekend dates are March 22-23 and we’ll be there!
Some of our memories of 2013 Maple Weekend at Willow Creek Sugarhouse. Click to enlarge.
Here is a video of Brad explaining the process of tapping a red maple: