It’s Sugar Time!

IMG_5307In late March–early April, Spring remains subtle in northern Vermont. Snow still covers the higher ground, while in the valley only the smallest of flowers break through the hard frozen earth. Sunny days might drive the temperature into the 40’s but nighttime sends it back below freezing. This pattern makes most of us stir crazy, but for the maple sugar maker this is a formula for success. Steam rising from sugar shacks once the boiling begins becomes the sign that Spring has indeed arrived and the sugar makers have no control over these fast and furious few weeks; once the nighttime stays too warm the sap slows and eventually stops. This labor intensive process can occupy a whole extended family and their neighbors, all coming together to gather the gallons of sap, boil it down and bottle the syrup.

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