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Spring is just around the corner! Though for much of the country, including us at Heifer Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts, where 8 feet of snow is on the ground, that fact feels hard to believe.

Maple sugaring at Heifer Farm.
Maple sugaring at Heifer Farm

But it’s true, and as temperatures during the day slowly creep up above freezing, a time-honored New England tradition comes to life: maple sugaring!

At Heifer Farm, we tap 70 sugar maple trees using the old-fashioned method of hanging metal buckets from the taps and collecting them as they fill up with sap. Commercial-scale sugaring practices use a system of lines that branch out to the trees in the sugar bush so the sap can run down a central tube to a collection tank.

In either system, when sap comes out of the tree, it looks like water. In fact, it is mostly water, made up of only 2 percent sugar. Removing all of that water is why sugar-makers must boil the sap. As the water evaporates, the sap becomes more and more concentrated until eventually it’s perfectly sweet at sugar content of 66 percent. Then, ta-da! It’s maple syrup!

It takes a lot of work, fuel and time to make maple syrup, but what a sweet reward at the end when it’s time to pour it over a stack of pancakes… and speaking of, I’m happy to invite you to do just that!

Join us at Heifer Farm for our annual Pancakes at the Farm held the first two weekends in March. This event features a delicious farm-to-table breakfast of hot-from-the-griddle pancakes covered with the sweet stuff, plus a side of farm-raised pork sausage, coffee and juice. Admission also includes a tour of the animal barns filled with newborn lambs and goat kids, and a chance to warm up in the Sugar House and watch the process of maple syrup being made.

Make a seating reservation today by calling 508-886-2221 or emailing heifer.farm@heifer.org. Hope to see you soon!

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Pancakes at the Farm
Heifer Farm
March 7, 8, 14 and 15 | 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

$12 per adult, $6 for children age 3-10 and free for children 2 and under. Heifer Farm is located at 216 Wachusett Street in Rutland, Massachusetts.

Author

Liz Joseph

Liz Joseph works at Heifer Farm in Rutland, Mass., managing the organic gardens, beekeeping and maple sugaring. Known as Liz Jo around the farmyard, she enjoys all things farming as well as learning new skills, cooking (and eating!), writing and laughing.