Skip to main content

The Sweet Taste of Spring: 3 Places To Visit This Maple Season

Feb 25, 2021 02:28PM ● By Virginia Dean
The surge of warm temperatures in March will send some local Vermont residents running to their sugarhouses, ready to begin an anticipated maple sugar season. The temperate conditions have prompted the tree sap to start flowing from the maples just about on time. And although many Vermonters are now perhaps more anxious about global warming resulting in earlier tapping, a few began to boil as early as two weeks ago. Below freezing nights followed by warmer days are necessary to start that run and keep it flowing through March and even early April. If night temperatures don’t dip below freezing and the days stay warm, the trees will bud out, and sap collection will end. Once trees bud, the flavor of the sap becomes unpalatable.

In Randolph Center, the Silloway family has been sugaring since 1942. In 2014, a new sugarhouse was designed and built to accommodate 70 solar panels. Paul Lambert, partner, and manager at Silloway Maple designed and built the sugarhouse with John Mattern of Integrity Energy from East Bethel. Mattern and his business partner, Amos Post, designed and installed the solar system. Family owner Bette Lambert, along with her sons, Paul and David run the sugaring operation. Lambert is the daughter of the founders, Paul and Louise Silloway. There are 6,200 taps, and the sap is boiled over a traditional wood-fired arch. On February 28, 2017, Governor Scott came to Silloway Maple to tap one of its trees to officially begin the season and relate his pride in the maple industry to the public. The same day, CBS-TV from New York City flew in and also interviewed and filmed around the property. Contact [email protected]  (802.272.6249) for a myriad of maple products, gifts, and apparel in addition to the latest pure Vermont maple syrup. Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun 1- 4 p.m.

A half-hour south, the 450-acre Richardson farm is well known for its sugaring. The fertile Hollis soils and crisp mountain air have created a distinct maple palette for five generations, including a blend of rich and delicate flavors. The farm story began in 1907 when dairy farmer James Johnson Richardson purchased land in Hartland, VT. Over the years, The Richardson’s keep records of their tapping and boiling each year and have over 11,000 taps. They sell a large portion of their syrup to a wholesaler in New Hampshire and locally. A small amount of retail can also be purchased at the Farm. For the latest Richardson Farm news and images, follow on Instagram and Facebook. Order by emailing Reid at [email protected] and includes the shipping address and telephone number. In addition to maple sugaring, other farm businesses include custom-made split rail fences and various dairy products. Contact 802.457.1255 or Richardson Farm Maple, 18 Richardson Farm Road, Woodstock, VT 05091 to arrange a visit to the farm.

Located in Taftsville/Woodstock line, the 550-acre hillside Sugarbush Farm is internationally known for its excellent waxed cheeses and pure Vermont maple syrup made right at the farm from 8,000 trees that are tapped. The sap is boiled down the old-fashioned way with a wood fire. No preservatives, coloring, or sugar are added. Run by the Luce family, an average season yields about 2,000 gallons of the sweet stuff. No one knows how much weather affects the sugaring process, Jeff Luce has noted. There have been years when the Farm started sugaring the third week of March because of the cold. According to experts, a typical sugaring season lasts 4-6 weeks. The conditions in the spring determine the yield. Too cold, no flow; too warm, no flow. No sugar maker wants a quick, warm spring. A long, slow one is what’s desired. Contact Sugarbush Farm, 591 Sugarbush Farm Road, Woodstock, VT 05091 (802.457.1757) or for Vermont maple products, cheeses, jams & preserves, smoked meat, pantry products, and terrabalma. Winter hours: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. M-Sun (call ahead).


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Image's free newsletter to catch every headline