When I was growing up, I’d regularly visit New Hampshire, but it was always during two seasons: Christmastime and Summer. I missed out on the late winter/spring period of New England. Or as they call it here, mud season. (And yeah, the mud can get pretty sketch.) One cool thing I was looking forward to was sugaring season, where they tap the maple trees for sap, boil it down, and create the delicious stuff you put on pancakes and waffles. Seriously, Mrs. Buttersworth is trash. No offense.
On Sunday, our our way back from skiing (and Clare’s first ski race, which will be a hopefully-soon future post), we stopped by a local sugar house, about 10 minutes or so from our house. It’s a fairly new sugar house run by Harding Hill Farm, which is just up the side road a piece. We received a great tour of the backroom and got covered in maple steam. When we first saw it from the road, we thought it was wood smoke and was a bit concerned, but nope — just a lot of boiling going on.
While I’m sure a lot of sugar houses in New Hampshire still run on old tech, not this place: it was a multi-stage system that theoretically produced more syrup for the amount of sap put into the system with less wood burned. And yes, we did end up buying some syrup, some maple candy for the girls, and a small container of maple cream. If you’ve never had maple cream before, this should be on your bucket list. Amazing.