Sugaring in Vermont typically takes place in March and is a fascinating (and sweet) process! One of the best places to learn about this process (as well as cheese making) is to visit Sugarbush Farm near Taftsville, VT. Taftsville is about 8 mi. from Leave No Trace cabin. Cross the Ottaquechee River over the scenic Taftsville covered bridge and follow the signs for several miles to Sugarbush Farm. The dirt road takes you past some lovely scenery of the Vermont mountains. Sugarbush farm makes maple syrup and cheese and has a very educational presentation of maple sugaring. There is a tasting room for the various grades of maple syrup and several varieties of cheese that are made there too. There is also a gift shop full of numerous Vermont products. Outside you can see the Belgian draft horses used to pull the maple sugar wagons – the old method of collecting from the taps in the maple trees.
It takes about 40 years for a sugar maple tree to produce enough sap to be tapped. Sometimes you can get a gallon of sap out of a tree in just a few hours, making collection a fast and hectic pace during those times. However, weather affects the flow of the sap and as the weather changes the sap may slow down or stop suddenly. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup after boiling off the excess water from the sap.
There are open houses at Vermont sugarhouses the weekend of March 27-29 . See www.vermontmaple.org for more info.