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Each year, as February turns into March, and through early April, farmers and maple-enthusiasts across Massachusetts, take to the woods for the first sign of the annual agricultural awakening — maple sugaring!
With a number of sugar houses open to the public during the season, this month’s MassFinds ‘Find of the Month’ is all about maple sugaring; where to learn, where to tour, and where to indulge!
For starters, the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of maple sugaring in Massachusetts, provides a great resource on local sugarmakers, where you can find local products, and how to start your own sugaring adventure.
Old Sturbridge Village, one of the country’s oldest and largest living history museums, regularly hosts Maple Days on select weekends through March, featuring the entire sugar-making process in an interactive, kid-friendly manner. You’ll learn how sugaring has evolved over time, and live demonstrations of the traditional Native American methods.
In nearly every Massachusetts village or town, you will find a sugarhouse — for a complete listing click here — a collection of them that feature tours, demonstrations, and restaurants. The following are just a few of the many!
Demonstrations & Tours:
Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Sharon, MA: Enjoy their “Maple Sugar Festival” on March 10th, 16th, & 17th with guided walking tours every fifteen minutes from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, ending with a visit to their sugar shark, where you’ll get a delicious taste of their recently turned sap into maple syrup. In the Nature Center, you’ll find a collection of maple delectables like hot pancakes, “sap” dogs, and maple sugar popcorn. Pre-registration is recommended, and can be reserved by calling 781-784-5691. Cost: $7 in advance or $8 on the day of the event, and free for children under 3.
The Warren Farm and Sugarhouse, North Brookfield, MA: Open on weekends in March for tours, you’ll learn everything from the early Native American history of sugaring, colonial methods, and how to collect and boil sap. You’ll enjoy a live sap to syrup demonstration in their sugarhouse, free sap and syrup tasting, hot drinks, and a free maple recipe booklet. Reservations are required for tours, so please call ahead: 508-867-0174. Cost: $5.00 per person, and free for children under 3.
In the Greater Boston area, you’ll find a number of additional sugaring demonstrations by clicking here, but for a more complete listing across the state, please contact the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association.
How about a bite to eat and a sweet, maple treat?
The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association also provides a great resource on where to find sugarhouse restaurants; you can view a map of all MA locations, or simply just search by city or town.
Here’s a sample listing:
South Face Farm Sugarhouse, Ashfield, MA
Warfield House Inn at Valley View Farm, Charlemont, MA
Williams Farm Sugarhouse, Deerfield, MA
Maple Corner Farm, Granville, MA
North Hadley Sugar Shack, Hadley, MA
Ioka Valley Farm, Hancock, MA
Hamilton Orchards, New Salem, MA
Davenport Maple Farm, Shelburne, MA
Gould’s Maple Sugarhouse, Shelburne, MA
Pomeroy Sugar House and Restaurant, Westfield, MA
Steve’s Sugar Shack, Westhampton, MA
High Hopes Farm Sugar House, Worthington, MA
The Red Bucket Sugar Shack, Worthington, MA
Windy Hill Farm Sugar House, Worthington, MA
Where’s your favorite spot in Massachusetts for a sweet, maple treat? Tell us in the comments below!