When my son's teacher planned a Field Trip to a local Sugar Shack, I thought -- hey --- great DayTripper! Something we've never done! But, Mike and I didn't tag along with Kindergarten. Instead, I found a great on-line guide to the 2010 Connecticut Maple Syrup Season and I randomly picked a spot!
We ended up at Moody's Sugar Shack in East Hampton which is quite a small operation but the owner is so passionate about syrup, he made the story really great!
Loren Moody grew up in Vermont as part of a farming family who would grow produce in the summer, log in the winter and make maple syrup in March. And, he can't wait for March to arrive. To me, it's a pretty dreary, muddy, "enough-already" kind of month, but to Loren, it's magic! He taps more than 1500 trees, gets his steamy evaporator going and boils syrup while "solving the world's problems" with his friends and neighbors. To him, Syrup Season is a time to connect with his loved ones. What a lovely tradition.
Loren wanted me to tap a tree...so, I revved up the drill and made my first hole in a stately maple! The entire process was quite easy. After drilling, I tapped a spout into the hole, hung a bucket and VOILA...as if by magic, Mother Nature started the sap a-flowin'! As well as this traditional technique, Moody has set up tubes on a property in East Hampton that's really a sight to see! Five miles of tubes run all around dense woods and end at huge vats, which catch a ton of sap.
Inside the Sugar Shack, it's hot and steamy -- as most of the water is boiled off to make pure, natural, organic maple syrup. Those are all buzz words today...and I do think it's an important process for kids to see. I'm not sure my son understood that Mrs. Butterworth has any competition! And, I have to say, the "real deal" tastes amazing.
While a wonderful smell swirled around us, we tasted Loren's warm syrup in tiny cups. Yum. Cheers!
There are Sugar Shacks all over the state. Check out our links and the on-line guide will point you in a sweet direction! Don't miss Connecticut's Other March Madness!