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.
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February posted on Feb 25
February’s contest winner was Amanda Bettle, who photographed sheep at The Natural Resources Trust of Easton. This photo features Dog, a former 4-H show animal and sole male sheep among the nine ewes in the Natural Resources Trust of Easton (NRT) flock. It is the mission …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January posted on Jan 26
January’s contest winner was Renee Finnegan, who photographed a pensive Highland cow at Oak Meadows Farm & Garden in Rutland. Glenn and Mary Kauppila have been farming 100 acres of land in Rutland for approximately 15 years. With the help of their three adult children, they …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January
Visit Winter Farmers’ Markets for Holiday Gifts posted on Dec 5
While performers serenade shoppers with upbeat or easy-listening music, farmers and food producers sell a wide variety of local food throughout the winter at over 40 winter farmers’ markets this season. Those who have not yet visited a winter market might be surprised by …Continue Reading Visit Winter Farmers’ Markets for Holiday Gifts