|by JD Rinne||Food + Drink, New Hampshire||1|
New Hampshire might be a small state, but in the span of four to six weeks each year, its maple trees provide more than 80,000 gallons of syrup.
You can see part of the process during the New Hampshire Maple Weekend. More than 65 sugarhouses in the state are participating this year by opening their doors and offering samples, tours, and special events.
For instance, visit Turkey Street Maples in Chocorua, N.H., for demonstrations, samples served with ice cream, and an opportunity to help collect sap from trees. Other houses are offering horse or tractor-drawn rides around the farms, pancake feasts, and "sugar on snow," a New England delicacy made by pouring boiling maple syrup on packed, fresh snow—the combination of the two makes a caramel-like treat. See the full schedule.
It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup—New Hampshire's producers made about 85,000 gallons of the sweet stuff in 2008. Sap starts to run from sugar maples in mid-February when the nights are cold but the days milder (in the 40s), with lots of sun. To make syrup, sap is boiled to evaporate water. That's why sugar houses always have a ton of steam coming from them.
Vermont is also hosting a Maple Open House this weekend.
Most sugarhouse visits are free; some events cost a nominal fee. Call the hotline at 603/225-3757 for more info.