NH’s Maple Weekend 2011 Takes Place March 19 – 20 with More than 60 Sugar Houses Providing Open Houses for Demonstrations, Sampling and Family-Friendly Activities
Concord, New Hampshire, February 25, 2011 – Thanks to positive weather conditions this fall and winter, maple producers across the state are optimistic about a very successful maple crop for the upcoming maple sugar season. According to the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development (DTTD), after an average season in 2010, the 2011 maple sugar season may be one for the record books and a sweet deal for visitors to New Hampshire. Maple Weekend in New Hamsphire will take place this year on March 19th-20th.
“We are optimistically watching the weather and are looking forward to seeing and tasting what appears to be the makings of a fantastic maple sugar season in New Hampshire,” said Lori Harnois, DTTD Director. “Visitors from near and far come to New Hampshire to experience the maple sugar excitement, and get a chance to learn about this ancient tradition, and indulge in sugar on snow, pancake breakfasts, even horse-drawn rides. It’s great fun for the whole family and is the unofficial kick off to spring in New Hampshire.”
According to the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, the maple season in New Hampshire usually lasts about 4-6 weeks, from mid-February to mid-April, although the days and length of the sap runs depend entirely on the weather. During those weeks, the New Hampshire maple industry produces close to 90,000 gallons of maple syrup. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to yield 1 gallon of syrup.
“What we look for is lots of rain in the late summer and fall to saturate the tree roots and a good amount of snow in the winter, all of which are good predictors for a successful season,” said Peter Thomson, owner of Mt. Cube Sugar Farm in Orford, NH who taps about 9,000 trees per season and has been generating sugar for 52 years. “Even though all this snow makes it harder to get to the trees, the snow helps keep the trees refrigerated.”
Thomson added, “Once the spring thawing starts, the sap will move up from the roots to feed the new buds, and when it freezes at night the sap will go back into the roots. The freezing and thawing process is very important for yielding a good maple crop and there will likely be a lot of that this season.”
Maple Season brings special activities throughout the state, with sugarhouses, inns and restaurants offering special events and packages. Here are several options:
Fuller's Sugar House, a "Best of New Hampshire Grand" in Lancaster, NH, and a fourth generation, family-owned business, offers guests the opportunity to tour its maple sugar making facility that produces syrup voted “4th Place in 2008 by Yankee Magazine’s Best Maple Syrup Contest.”
Maple tours are back on tap at The Rocks Estate in Bethlehem, NH. Discovering the history of maple sugaring, participating in the process of tapping trees and making syrup, horse-drawn wagon rides through the scenic 1,400-acre Rocks property, and tasty treats have made these tours a favorite springtime tradition. In addition, the on-site New Hampshire Maple Experience museum, housed in a renovated historic building, provides a fun and educational program for visitors of all ages. The Rocks has again teamed up with the famous Polly’s Pancake Parlor in nearby Sugar Hill to offer an abbreviated menu at The Rocks from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day of The New Hampshire Maple Experience.
Held in North Woodstock, New Hampshire, the NH Maple Fest is a hub of activity during New Hampshire Maple Weekend, with many local restaurants featuring maple products in their menus. Throughout the weekend, join in the fun with such planned activities as Maple Obstacle Course, Maple Dinner Ball with the crowning of Maple King and Queen, New Hampshire Maple Festival Parade, and Maple Festival Bed Race. Leave room for pancake breakfasts and taste testing at Fadden’s Sugar House, hosted by the Lincoln/Woodstock Chamber of Commerce.
Enjoy maple sugaring at the Remick Museum and Farm in Tamworth, on March 26th and see a timeline of Native American, Colonial, and modern day sugaring demonstrations. Visit the historic Maple Sugar encampment, take a closer look at the tapped trees in the sugar bush, come inside the Maple Sugar house and see how the modern day evaporator works and sample pure maple syrup and sugar-on-snow. Families will also enjoy scenic horse-drawn wagon rides pulled by the farm’s Belgian horses, Lady and Brandi.