Every state has its claim to fame, but there's none sweeter than Vermont's being America's maple syrup capital. Vermont is the nation’s leading producer of maple syrup with annual production between 400,000 and 500,000 gallons. Vermont’s high concentration of sugar maple trees is also one of the reasons it consistently offers the nation’s most vibrant fall foliage.
Maple season in Vermont runs from about March 1 to mid-April. When warm days and cool nights cause the sugar maples' sap to begin to flow again, that's when maple producers all around the state collect sap and boil it down to pure Vermont maple syrup. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup, which means a lot of water goes up in steam.
This March, on Saturday and Sunday March 24 and 25, Vermont sugar makers invite you to visit sugarhouses during the annual Vermont Maple Open House Weekend. See for yourself how maple syrup is made. Some sugarmakers offer tours and horse-drawn wagon rides, and others welcome you with tastings of this year's new crop, sugar-on-snow, and maple donuts. Because no two sugarhouses are the same, plan on visiting more than one!
What you'll find, no matter where you visit, is small independent sugarmakers using technology that hasn't changed all that much over the years. Yes, the sap is now gathered with plastic pipelines strung tree-to-tree instead of tin buckets and many evaporators are oil fired. But you can still find wood fired evaporators boiling down the sap as it's been done for generations.
Another great event to put on your calendar is the 46th Annual Vermont Maple Festival, taking place in St. Albans April 27 – 29, 2012. There will be three days of maple treats, learning, entertainment, crafts, and fun for all. This is a 2012 Vermont Top 10 Event. For more information and the full roster of activities, visit www.vermontmaplefestival.org
For information about Vermont Maple Open House Weekend and directions to participating sugarhouses, visit the Vermont Maple Website. Also, pick up a copy of the “ Vermont Ski & Maple Map” at any Vermont Welcome Center or call 1-800-837-6668 for a copy of the map.