A NH Maple Sugaring Tour
I am excited to complete this fun post highlighting New Hampshire’s Maple Syrup industry; “A NH Maple Sugaring Tour!”
I picked three sugarhouses at random, and all three were absolute gems! It makes me think sugarhouses and the people that operate them are part of a special group within the NH economy. I hope the video below, and the post that follows, do justice to these hardworking, amazing businesses and families.
NH Maple Weekend
March is Maple Month in New Hampshire and is the basis for finally scheduling this adventure. The New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, Inc. works hard to promote the industry during the month of March and also builds excitement for the annual Maple Weekend.
During NH Maple Month you will find steam rolling out of more than 350 Sugarhouses scattered across the state. During New Hampshire Maple Weekend, over 90 of these sugarhouses open their doors to offer samples, tours, and more to the general public. I picked three sugarhouses in the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region and they were amazingly gracious with their time and very fun to visit.
One of the big facts I learned while out on my tour was the use of reverse osmosis to improve the efficiency of converting maple sap into maple syrup. I was surprised to learn that maple syrup producers have been using this technique for quite a while now.
On average, it takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. Before reverse osmosis, that would mean boiling down that 40 gallons through a labor-intensive process of heating, boiling, and evaporation. With the addition of osmosis, sugarhouses are able to separate the actual maple sugar molecules from the water and greatly reduce the amount of boiling that occurs. Less boiling saves on the wood used is more environmentally friendly and improves efficiency. Boiling times can be reduced by 50-75%. The byproduct is pure water that is repurposed for cleaning equipment.
I have dabbled with making small batches of maple syrup on my own over the years. It was a lot of work just to make a quart or so of syrup. It is great to see technology helping these small businesses work more efficiently and remain a vital part of the New Hampshire economy.
Harding Hill Farm
I planned my day to take me through the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region and my first stop was Harding Hill Farm in Sunapee. As I pulled close, I could see the steam rolling out of the roof peak and grew excited to start the story for this adventure.
Harding Hill Farm is a 3rd generation farm that has been in operation since 1948. Tyler Webb was gracious enough to spend some time with me and allow for an interview for the video above.
The crew was busy with syrup operations and the retail section was buzzing with customers. It is clear that maple season is an intense burst of activity for these sugarhouses and NH Maple Weekend helps highlight it. This year’s sap started flowing early and sugarhouses were looking to take advantage of mother nature’s generosity while it lasted.
I would encourage you to view the Harding Hill Farm website for additional information and visit their online store.
6 Saplings Sugarhouse
My second sugarhouse of the day was in Wilmot and what a gem it is. 6 Saplings Sugarhouse is named after the six children that all work alongside their parents in this first-generation business.
This first-generation operation is managed by the Atwood and Gove families along with 6 amazing little sugarers; Lynlee, Landen, Mya, Levi, Bentley, and Riley! The kids were right in the mix loading wood into the evaporator, running registers, answering customer questions, and more.
Dara Gove was kind enough to grant me another nugget to add to the video. You can check them out on Facebook.
Trailside Sugar House
The last stop of the day would take me to Andover, New Hampshire, and Trailside Sugar House. First-generation sugarer, Zach Barton, is the passionate owner and operator of this sugarhouse. Zach was very busy giving tours and enthusiastically answering customer questions. He has ambitious plans to methodically grow his business moving forward.
Zach’s passion led to a segment in New Hampshire Chronicle that really sums up the entire maple sugaring industry in New Hampshire. You can view and purchase Trailside Sugar House products with this online link.
Trailside Sugar House also won the 2023 viewers choice award for Best Sugarhouse in New Hampshire! When he isn’t working at the sugarhouse, Zach likes to chip away at NH’s 48/4000′ mountain peaks.
I hope you enjoyed this post and video from my sugarhouse adventure across New Hampshire’s beautiful Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region. I would encourage you to support and patronize this amazing niche of the New Hampshire economy. Put NH Maple Weekend on your list of things to do for next year and experience for yourself the magic that turns sap into liquid gold!
For another adventure in the area, check out my post on a gorgeous hike up Mount Kearsarge. The views are incredible and the summit is a real treat.
I highly recommend “Cruising New Hampshire History” for any New Hampshire lover’s library collection! It has been fun learning and finding these historical markers as I explore New Hampshire! (paid link)
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Until the next post: “Live Free and Explore!”