Although we’ve been buried in snow and have endured a long, cold winter, Mother Nature knows that the seasons are changing—the sap is now rising in maple trees across New Hampshire. Maple sugar producers are beginning to tap these rich sources in preparation for the big harvest that marks the start of spring!
If you’d like to see the process up close in the Lakes Region, you can get in on all the maple sugaring action at Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center in Laconia. Every Saturday throughout March, Prescott Farm welcomes the public to its Maple Sugar Madness program, where visitors can learn everything about the techniques of sugaring, from tapping to tasting!
The program runs three times each Saturday: from 10:00 – 11:30, 12:00 – 1:30, and 2:00 – 3:30. Guests will have an opportunity for hands-on participation in every step of the syrup-making process. The farm’s environmental educators help visitors build tree identification skills, learn the parts of a tree, and discover how each part functions. Then visitors use measuring tools to find an appropriate maple tree to tap, and try their hands at historical as well as modern tree tapping tools. The experience is enhanced with presentations of the history of maple sugaring, including Native American legends. Guests also learn the math and science involved in the boiling process. Then it’s time to taste the results!
This program does involve a 20-minute walk to the Sugar House and a hike back up the hill after the program, so dress appropriately for the weather, and don’t forget the snow boots! Snowshoes are available if needed. For more information and to reserve your spot, call Prescott Farm at 603-366-5695.
Most NH maple producers are gearing up the 19th Annual NH Maple Weekend taking place March 22nd & 23rd this year. Sugarhouses will be open to visit and will have plenty of fresh maple syrup and other maple products on hand. Some locations will be offering pancake breakfasts, while others will have live entertainment and family activities. Every sugarhouse offers a great learning experience about one of the Granite State’s oldest industries. Also check out NH.com for a long list of maple syrup farms and sugar shacks in the state.
Celebrate the sweetest season of the year—now is the time to take part in an old-fashioned New England tradition, stock up on real NH maple syrup, and support our local maple producers!
The Mill Falls Blogging Team
photo courtesy of Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center