A SUGARING WE WILL GO — 2 April 2014

Last summer when Gretchen and Herb graciously toured me through Gretchen’s ancestral lands in  Alstead and Acworth, New Hampshire Herb said to me, “I will have to show you the activity during “Sugar Season.”  He has constructed and maintains all the equipment for the 5th largest producer of maple syrup in the US in of all places Acworth, New Hampshire.  They showed me the grounds of that facility last summer, but not the inside.

Yesterday Gretchen called me and said, “Ray, would you like to see my brother’s Sugar House tomorrow, and maybe Herb can afterwards tour us through Bascom’s.”  Was it a hard decision?  NO, and I asked if friend, Lucille could join us.

I am not going to go into all the fascinating details of the “three hour tour” because you know what they say about a picture (you don’t want to read thousands of my words right now!)  Gretchen’s brother’s sugar house is hidden off in the woods (and even the revenuers  have not found it) and is maybe 100 years old with some of the wood reclaimed (at that time) from a 100 year old structure.  Just too much fun.  And after Peter and his wife, Debbie, graciously explained everything to us we headed to Acworth and met Herb where he toured us though the 5th largest producer of maple syrup in the US – yes, over 700 labels produced here — same stock, different brands, and shipped all over the world.

Ninety percent of maple syrup comes from Quebec, Canada.  About 3% (if I remember correctly) of the sap this plant utilizes comes from New Hampshire.  The property is at about 1400 feet elevation with fantastic views and is simply a hidden gem.  What an afternoon.  So, here are some pictures to tell the story going back into time (no images of the new facility)

Traveling into the woods to discover

Sugar-1

Here is Peter’s truck unloading sap into the century old Sugar House

Sugar-2

As we approached I said, “I expect Little Red Riding Hood inside.”  And then Debbie came out to greet us.

Sugar-3

Debbie is working with the evaporator

Sugar-4

and, here she is showing Lucille the various grades.

Sugar-5

Sugar-6

The water has been boiled off, the specific gravity is correct, and the finished Maple Syrup is drawn off.

Sugar-7

And then it is filtered out through mesh before filling up the bottles

Sugar-8

And, that is the way it has been done for generations.  And, next we got to tour the facility hidden in the Acworth hills with 50 mile views.  Owner Bruce entertained us with sugaring and family stories going back generations.

Only in New Hampshire — for the lucky few.  Thank you Gretchen and Herb !!!

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5 Responses to A SUGARING WE WILL GO — 2 April 2014

  1. scotttho says:

    Great experience Ray, thanks so much for sharing. We’d love to see that operation sometime.

  2. Marian says:

    Wow..that was a great experience. Hilary, his brothers would always make the maple syrup in Wisconsin. It was a fun time for a couple of weeks in the late winter/early spring.
    Thank you for sharing and bringing back memories.

    Hugs,
    Marian

  3. Betty says:

    Those pictures look surreal! What a beautiful place nestled in the woods. You captured some great lighting with those pictures. I can almost smell the sugaring process from the pics! Thanks for sharing this one.

  4. Brian Shriver says:

    Thanks Ray. That was a nice write up and some great shots. The numbers at Bascom’s are quite enormous and eye popping. They have 70,000 taps of their own and yet that only comprises 3% of what they bottle (or boil?). It’s amazing to me that they can still find time to sell the do it yourselfer a used evaporator or some old buckets. Stay well and keep the blogs coming.

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