Maple Sugaring at Warrup’s Farm

"It looks like water."
"It looks like water."

Last Sunday wound up being the perfect day to tromp through Warrup’s field to get to the maple sugar house. Steam rising from the roof was catnip for the kids who couldn’t get through the door fast enough to see what was going on inside. They did stop long enough to inspect the contents of the buckets hanging from the maple trees and declare “It looks like water.”

Warrup's Farm, Redding, entering the maple sugar house
Warrup's Farm, Redding, entering the maple sugar house
Boiling the sap to make it into syrup
Boiling the sap to make it into syrup

Bill Hill gave us a lesson in maple sugaring as he babysat the wood-fired cooker, taking care not to let the syrup overcook. Maple sugaring , which takes place mid-February to the end of March, starts with tapping maple trees, slinging collection buckets from them, collecting the sap and bringing it to the maple sugar house to be boiled until it reaches the syrup stage.  It’s then poured off, strained and cooled. The syrup is later reheated in the kitchen to a temperature of 180 degrees and poured into jugs for sale to the public.

Bill Hill demonstrating how a maple tree tap works
Bill Hill demonstrating how a maple tree tap works

It take 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup! No wonder it looked like water. I’m sad to say they are done doing public demonstrations for the season. Call to see if you can stop by to purchase some syrup. Otherwise, you might have to wait until July when they show up at the Weston Farmers’ Market with any remaining syrup. Bill said there might not be any because demand at the farm has been so great.

Warrup’s Farm is located on John Read Road, Redding, CT, 1.2 miles north of Redding Center, off Route 107. The farm is open seasonally for pick your own organic produce and flowers, pumpkins and cut your own Christmas trees. The farm stand is open late July through the first frost from 10-6. Call ahead to plan your visit: 203-938-9403.

Pouring off the freshly made syrup
Pouring off the freshly made syrup

A visit with the barnyard animals is an entertaining choice. The “sentry” ducks make quite a racket any time a visitors enter the farm, the three black cats show themselves and then hide in crates, almost inviting a game of hide an go seek, and the goats are enormous and friendly and don’t mind the pony who rooms with them. The ladies (hens) are beautiful and interesting and we even got a good crow out of the rooster as we left!

Straining the syrup
Straining the syrup

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