Maple Sugaring

April pulls the same dirty tricks every year — particularly after we relax or let our guard down at the end of winter. A few decent days, then April delivers a gut-punch: swirling snow, sleet and freezing temperatures under gray skies.

Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 6:00pm

The 2019 Maple Dinner is April 6 at the Maplewood in Bethlehem. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

BETHLEHEM, N.H.—The Rocks will once again celebrate the transition from a long winter to a welcome spring with its annual Maple Dinner on April 14. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit The Rocks Project Fund for maintaining and improving this historic property.

March is maple sugaring season in New Hampshire.  The latest outing in our "Five Easy Hikes in Five Weeks" series celebrated this traditional rite of Spring with a visit to The Maple Guys sugarhouse in Lyndeborough.

First boil of the new maple season perpetuates a sugaring legacy.

Gnarly ancient sugar maples are sentinels. They may grow for 200 years and slowly decline for another half century.

Some people like to go big. Huuuge, you might say. On an online forum where maple syrup producers exchange tips and info, a fellow in Wisconsin recently sought input on upscaling his operation from 50 taps (hobby scale) to (gulp) 45,000 taps on family-owned land.

Sugarmakers are all wondering what this extraordinary winter will mean to this year’s maple syrup production. In central New Hampshire, I have historically tapped the trees for my modest hobby operation by President’s Day weekend in February, often enjoying a good run that week. This year, other than a few meager drips echoing on the bottom of my old-school buckets, there hadn’t been a real good run by March 24. Contrast that to a few years ago when spring came so fast that I was all done by March 18.

I always make sure to have a pint or two of real maple syrup squirreled away in the back of the cabinet. It seems only prudent to have a back-up supply.

Charley Hosmer shuffles out of his sugarhouse as I approach. He squints in curiosity and then relaxes in recognition. He ducks inside to check the boiling maple sap and I follow him. "How's it running?" I ask.