Thursday, October 10, 2013

Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks

The leaves were just beginning to turn, but this flaming red tree gave us a taste of  why people flock to New England to see the fall foliage.

Being from the Pacific Northwest, the opportunity to stay at a maple sugar farm was too good to pass up. Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, near Montpelier, Vermont, is part of Harvest Hosts, and so we were able to park there overnight.
We were treated to a beautiful sunset over the rolling farmland. 
I was very excited to explore the farm the next morning. We ran into Burr Morse, one of the brothers who run the farm that's been in their family for generations. He was happy to talk with us and answer our questions about how they make maple syrup.  The Burr family helped settle this part of Vermont and learned to tap maple trees from the Native peoples who lived there. At that time hot rocks were used to evaporate water from the sap until only the sugar remained. Ben Franklin highly encouraged the production of maple sugar in the Northeast in the hopes of freeing the United States from dependency on foreign sugar. After Independence, and with improved transportation, more sugar cane was produced for the country in the South. 
A tour group arrived and we were invited to sit in on Burr's presentation in the sugarhouse. Syrup production takes place for only a short run in the spring, so during the rest of the year they stay busy with maintenance and tours. It was very interesting to learn about how much work goes into getting sugar or syrup from sap. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup! I will never again complain about the cost of maple syrup now that I've seen how much work goes into it.
There were all kinds of whimsical woodcarvings scattered here and there around the farm.
Modern maple farms no longer hang buckets to collect sap, but instead drill and insert a tube which is under vacuum pressure. The tubes run into a central tank where the sap is collected and stored until it can be boiled down. At Morse Farm, they only drill one hole per tree per season, and each tree will give about ten gallons of sap. Burr says the trees are all wild; he knows of no one that plants maple trees for sugar production, as they take 40 years to give enough sap. So it takes four trees to produce one gallon of pure maple syrup!
After touring the farm we enjoyed browsing the gift shop and sampling the four different grades of maple syrup and my favorite, maple cream.
Did you notice Maple Creemees on the sign? That's Vermontese for Maple soft serve ice cream! The cashier in the gift shop joked about how "flatlanders" come up to Vermont and have to ask what a Maple Creemee is! 
We had a great time at Morse Farm Sugarworks. 

1 comment:

  1. Rebeca, What a year of travel you have had! You are just down the road from my brother right now, funny small world that it is. We are missing you at Greek Fest this weekend! But your weather in Vermont looks nicer than our PNW rain!


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