A Visit to a Sugar Shack
Vermont is known for its beautiful four seasons. However, there are lots of other seasons mixed in there that really tell the story of life in Vermont: ski season, hunting season, hiking season, boating season and mud season to name a few. Sugaring season though, perhaps more than any other, really captures the essence of Vermont, something that we talk about a lot here at LCC.
A few of us were lucky enough yesterday to pay a visit to David Allen who provides LCC with his maple syrup to make our Maple Crunch and Five Star Granola Bar. The visit confirmed what an art and science it is to make maple syrup, what a significant role terroir (the taste of place) plays into the taste of the syrup and how the smell of boiling sap (different than maple syrup) is like nothing else in the world.
There are maple syrup producers scattered all over the state, some small, some quite large. David’s operation probably falls somewhere in the middle. He uses up to date technology (that means no traditional metal pails) to make the process as efficient as possible but he’s still sitting right there watching the sap boil, carefully making adjustments all along the way. There’s no technology to replace that (at least not yet, anyway).
To give you an idea of the scope, David taps approximately 4000 maple trees on 50 acres. It takes him about 2 weeks to set up all the tubing—this year it was a scramble since we’ve had such a mild winter. In fact, it’s the earliest he ever remembers taping the trees. Between his trees and the sap that others bring him, he hopes to produce 2000 gallons of syrup this year. Sugaring season is short and incredibly weather dependent. To get the sap to run, you need warm days and cold nights and then a few colder days mixed in there as well. This time of year though, the sap is running full bore and that means David will be sitting right next to that boiler until it stops, probably at the end of March.
To experience just a piece of what it’s like, take a look at our photos. Or if you’re local, come by and visit one of our stores for our Taste of Place Maple Celebration on March 17 where we’ll have limited edition Maple Caramels, Maple Pecan Ice Cream, Maple Walnut Fudge, maple lattes and shakes, plus all chocolates made with maple syrup will be on sale!