This March is the time to plan a visit to a sugar house and gain an appreciation for the ancient art of making syrup from the sap of maple trees. Maple sugaring, which takes place mid-February to the end of March, starts with tapping maple trees and slinging collection buckets from them to collect the sap. It take 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup! Collected sap is brought to the maple sugar house to be boiled until it reaches the syrup stage. It’s then poured off, strained and cooled for bottling. We have three excellent maple syrup producers in Fairifield County that host open houses and other events during the season. These events are top picks for families with kids.
Ambler Farm, Wilton (follow organic practices)
Ambler Farm’s maple syrup open houses – free and open to the public
Saturday, March 3 from 12:30-1:30 and
Sunday, March 11 from 12:30-1:30
257 Hurlbutt Street Wilton, CT 06897-2708
Event Description from Ambler Farm: Kids and families will have an opportunity to tap a tree, take the maple syrup taste test, learn about Native American, colonial, and modern ways to make syrup and of course taste Ambler Farm’s very own maple syrup over vanilla ice cream. Bottles of our very own maple syrup will be available for sale.
Close your eyes and imagine the quintessential New England farm you’ve read about in books. Picture the rolling fields and stone walls adorned with a farm house, red barn, ice house, and white carriage house. Open your eyes and you’re at Ambler Farm, a gem of a 200-year-old working farm in Wilton where organic produce is grown for sale at their farm stand and stall at the Wilton farmers market each summer. The Friends of Ambler Farm have made it the farm’s mission to celebrate Wilton’s agrarian roots through active-learning programs, sustainable agriculture, responsible land stewardship, and historic preservation. Their high quality, hands-on learning programs for children and adults take place year round and include popular summer farm camps. Special events like their annual farm-to-table dinner and annual Ambler Farm Day, are important fundraisers which help sustain educational programming. Among my favorites seasonal events are the honey harvest and maple syrup harvest. If you haven’t yet tried their estate maple syrup, grab a bottle for yourself and another as a gift. Check the farm’s event calendar and sign up for their e-newsletter to stay informed. To learn more, read our feature article about the farm.
Warrup’s Farm, Redding (Certified Organic)
Free maple sugaring demonstrations
from noon until 5 pm
First three weekends in March
John Read Road, Redding, CT,
1.2 miles north of Redding Center, off Route 107
Warrup’s is one of our favorite farms to visit for a maple sugaring demonstration. Each of the first three weekends in March, owner Bill Hill treats guests to a free lesson as he babysits the wood-fired cooker, taking care not to let the syrup overcook. Visitors are welcome to watch the process, ask questions, and have a taste. Maple syrup and maple candies will be available for sale. It’s best to visit Warrup’s website for any schedule updates or call 203-938-9403 to plan your visit.
Stamford Museum & Nature Center
Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4
$5 admission for members/$10 non-members
children 3 and under are free
39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford CT 06903
Event Description from Stamford Museum & Nature Center: Visit the little red sugarhouse on Heckscher Farm and see firsthand how sap is turned into sweet maple syrup. Witness how trees are tapped and sap is collected, make a maple-themed craft, go on a scavenger hunt, have your face painted and more. On Saturday from 11:30-1:30 4 local chefs will have a cook-off using the farm’s maple syrup and you get to vote for the winner.
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