Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All things "maple-y" in March...

It's maple sugaring time again at The Buttonwood Inn.  During March, we tap a few of our maple trees to boil the sap making our own maple syrup.  Bill drills five holes into three maple trees and then inserts his handcrafted spiles that are connected to empty, clean plastic milk and orange juice bottles to collect the sap.  The sap looks like water but has a slightly sweet scent and tastes slightly sweet.  Over the past two weeks, we've collected 15-1/2 gallons of sap and are hoping for more.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.  We boil it on our stove.

Our neighbors have a different method of collecting the sap from their maples.  They hook up a long, plastic hose line to the spiles running it from tree to tree downhill where it drips into a large vinyl drum.  Other neighbors still hook up the traditional New England covered metal sap buckets of yesteryear. 

During a recent snow shoe trek on the Buttonwood Trail, I spoke with neighbors who were pulling their daily yield of sap in a sled holding about 8 plastic gallon jugs.  Their maple syruping operation is a bit larger than ours because they have about 30 jugs collecting sap in the forest.  They are hoping the forest will be kind to them this year because their yield last year was half compared to 2011.  The winter of 2012 was unusually warm for New Hampshire and we also didn't have much snow!

As I write this blog, I'm watching the snow fall very heavily at times with an accumulation of one foot so far and we're just halfway through it.  Tomorrow morning is the first day of Spring!  I'm not complaining because as long as it remains wintry cold, the sap should continue to flow and we can make more syrup.

The maple syrup we make is for our personal consumption.  We purchase the best quality Grade A Amber from award-winning maple producer, Fuller's Sugarhouse, in Lancaster, NH.  They have a huge maple sugaring operation and supply their customers all year around.  They  conduct tours of their maple sugaring operation next to their store and fill internet orders shipping anywhere.

This weekend some of our guests will be participating in our annual March Maple Madness tour to other inns in Mt. Washington Valley.  They will sample maple treats while gathering points for a chance to win a $200 gift certificate for a future stay at any one of these inns, including other prizes.  You still have to time to reserve with us and join in on this fun and "maple-y" event!  Call us at 1-800-258-2625 or book online today.

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