Maple syrup — a Vermont staple long before many can remember. In the days of World War II, when food staples were being rationed, Vermont’s commercial maple production became an adjunct to farming. Writings from the 1800s outline the process of sugaring in southern Vermont, where “wooden blocks were split, hollowed out, and used to collect sap.” A v-shaped wooden spout was used to bring sap to the trough. There were also many hardships of sugaring, including snow so deep that horses couldn’t be used, so the sap was collected using snow sleds. A true labor of love! It is still a labor of love, but most sugar lots now have more than 1,200 taps on a pipeline — some have more as the pipeline is now the primary means of collecting sap with just a handful of buckets. Driving through Chittenden County, you can see the pipelines attached to trees that go for miles. This tube system runs into storage tanks, so sugarmakers can collect maple sap whenever it runs. As you drive through the Vermont backroads, you might see smoke and steam rise from the stacks. The network of tubing that replaces the sap buckets and taps allows the sugarmakers to focus on making maple candy and maple butter, as well as syrup. Many will say that sugaring is their passion, but also offer this advice — “Don’t give up your day job.” Sugaring is part of the economic and cultural heritage of Vermont!
Essex Senior Citizens, Inc.
April 22 — luncheon: Holy Family Parish Hall, Essex Junction
April 29 — potluck: April birthday celebration, Maple Street, Essex Junction
May 5 — Senior Citizens, Inc. board meeting May 5.