Having visions of steam wafting from a warm, cozy sugarhouse? Anticipating the delicious taste of maple syrup? Then get excited, because March is Maple Month and all of your maple-centered madness will culminate at the first ever MA Maple Weekend on March 22 and 23. Thanks in part to the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, administered by the Commonwealth’s Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR), this special event has become a reality. Pure maple syrup is the season’s first agricultural harvest, a sure sign that spring is around the corner. Visiting a maple sugarhouse is a quintessential Massachusetts experience. When the evenings are cold and the days are warm, it’s sugaring time. There’s a lot happening throughout Maple Month and MA Maple Weekend on March 22 – 23. Sugarhouses across the state will be open for folks to meet the sugarmakers, observe first-hand how maple syrup is made, sample pure maple products, enjoy a pancake breakfast or visit area restaurants that feature Massachusetts maple syrup on their menu.
About 40 gallons of maple sap are needed to make a gallon of maple syrup, which takes about five days for the average maple tree to produce. Buying Massachusetts maple is important to the local economy and the environment. The industry preserves over 13,000 acres of land, helping keep Massachusetts green across the board.
You could also win a prize during the “Think beyond the pancake” Massachusetts maple recipe contest. To taste sweet victory, your recipe must feature 100% pure Massachusetts maple syrup and be judged to be the most creative. The contest will be held at Williams’ Sugarhouse in Deerfield on March 18. Pure Massachusetts maple syrup is a sweet, all-natural and versatile ingredient for bakers and cooks.
For centuries, Massachusetts sugarmakers have been using maple syrup for baking and cooking in a variety of flavorful recipes including marinades, sauces, desserts, baked products and salads. The MA Maple Producers Association panel of judges will taste recipes prepared by contestants and choose the winners. Your recipe may be published by the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association! Contestant must submit entries by Friday March 14, complete details can be found here.
Once you make a connection with a Massachusetts sugarmaker, taste the maple syrup and understand the sugaring process, you’ll want to start your own tradition and return every year! Full details are available from the MA Maple Producers Association. You can also go to the Mass Grown and Fresher Google map and click on the Maple Sugar Houses icon for a complete listing of farms, sugarhouses and restaurant locations.
The Turtles are Coming posted on Aug 29
With a migration pattern that stretches thousands of miles, it is no surprise that Massachusetts is home to four types of turtles during the summer, all of them protected by local and international law. And while you probably know that sea turtles often frequent the Massachusetts beaches, can you identify them?
2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: August posted on Aug 25
Augusts’ Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Cara Peterson, who photographed a high tunnel greenhouse at Flats Mentor Farm in Lancaster.
Not From Around Here: Green Crabs posted on Aug 22
As part of its work to assess salt marsh health, staff from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have frequently observed abundant green crabs, often burrowing in the banks of marsh creeks. This summer, CZM is examining the potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.