This past weekend sugarhouses around Vermont were open to the public. It's a statewide promotion effort to publicize where real maple syrup comes from... as opposed to the brown-colored corn syrup solutions sold in plastic bottles in the grocery store (Aunt Jemima, etc.)
These images are from Morse Farm, Montpelier, Vermont.
The parking lot was full on a cool and blustery Sunday afternoon.
Visitors watching the sap boil. One thing I learned, was that Morse Farm does not use a reverse osmosis system, which concentrates the sap prior to boiling, because they feel that it affects the taste of the finished product.
If the sugarmaker has a giddy, sugary smile, it's because he told us that he drank a large glass of fresh syrup every day during sugaring season: If did that, I would end up asleep in a corner, curled up in a diabetic coma. I was once at an event where maple syrup was flowing freely... and I remember crashing very hard afterward as the sugar spike worked itself out of my system.
Even though the weekend was cold and rather bleak (typical mud season weather), Vermont had an early and very warm spring. The sugarmaker did say that the very early warm spell did not make for great sugaring and that the 2010 sap had a weaker than ideal concentration of sugar for syrup production.
If the trend of climate change (aka 'global warming') continues as predicted, sugaring may be something that disappears from Vermont in my lifetime. This graphic is from a website, Climate Change and Farming, published by the rather apolitical USDA and UVM Extension service.