By Analiese Paik
Now is the time to plan an outing to a local sugar house where you will gain an appreciation for the ancient art of making syrup from the sap of maple trees. Maple sugaring, which takes place from the beginning of February to the end of March, starts with tapping maple trees and slinging collection buckets from them to collect the sap. More advanced collections systems use plastic vacuum tubing, but no matter the technology, it takes 40 to 50 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 Fairfield County that host open houses and other events during the season. These events are top picks for families with kids and adults that never tire of experiencing the joys of Mother Nature and ingenuity of human beings.
Enjoy this 9 minute educational video we took at Ambler Farm’s Open House in 2012.
Ambler Farm, Wilton (follows organic practices)
Ambler Farm’s maple syrup open houses – free and open to the public
Saturday, March 2 from 12:00-1:00 pm and
Sunday, March 10 from 12:00-1:00 pm
257 Hurlbutt Street Wilton, CT 06897-2708
Event Description from Ambler Farm: Come experience a New England tradition: turning sap into syrup! The history and process of making syrup is fascinating. 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. This event is free and open to the public.
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
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.
Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3
$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: Join us as this annual family favorite returns to the 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, watch local chefs create delicious dishes using SM&NC maple syrup and vote for your favorite in a winner-takes-all maple cook-off! On Sunday, enjoy our popular pancake brunch. Don’t forget to purchase a pint of your very own fresh maple syrup, made from our very own trees at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center.
Daily Admission Fees:
Members: $5 per person | Non-Members: $10 per person
Family Plus Members: and above levels and all children 3 & under: FREE
Pancake Brunch (SUNDAY only, 11am – 2pm) Additional $5 fee.