And, we’re cookin’! Maple syrup production is officially in full swing across the United States and Canada! In some places, producers report that the season started early this year, while in other places, folks say their areas got a late start. Projections abound! With some producers confident of a great season, and others worrying about lingering effects from last year’s drought.
At least domestically, the industry continues to consolidate as existing operations merge and add taps; the largest operation in the world is in Vermont at 500,000 taps with plans to operate 1.5 Million taps. That is NOT to say that some hearty souls aren’t hanging in there sugaring the good old fashioned way. But it’s not just the pros, of course. In addition to us backyarders, school kids, college kids and nature centers are hard at work tapping, collecting and boiling this year.
Around the country, some maple festivals are going forward despite the pandemic, and others are going dark, some even for a second year. One event that is definitely on is a Maple History Hike at Shaker Village in New Hampshire, a four mile guided tour of the sugar woods and camp that was the community’s maple production facility in the 1800s. Gosh, we’d love to attend that one!
And for those long days of sugaring, you can keep your strength up with these maple dishes: Yeasted Waffles with Maple Syrup, Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Andouille Sausage and Apricots, Warm Chipotle Maple Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Farro and Kale, Maple Bacon Baked Brie, Honey Maple Cornbread, Caramel Hazel Sandwich Cookies, Maple Pie, and, of course Old Fashioned Maple Snow Candy.
The days of backyard snow painting and sculpturing are almost over, the days of backyard maple syrup making are upon us, and our future looks bright with backyard mud kitchens, homesteading, edible flower harvesting, climate victory gardening, composting, rainwater harvesting, and caring for backyard chickens. Spring and summer backyard hobbies, here we come!