Maple Sugar Moon & Sugar Shacking

Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back:
A Native American Year of Moons

By J. Bruchac & J. London
Illustrated by Thomas Locker

“In many Native American cultures each of the thirteen moons of the year is said to hold its own story, and each is powered by the turtle who is believed to contain the mystery of the moon in the shell of its back.”

Legend has it that North America is the back of a turtle and it’s eye is here in New England. If you take a close look at the shell of a turtle you can count out thirteen different plates on its carapace. And every year has thirteen moon cycles that complete the year.

According to Anishinabe legend, this month’s full moon, the 3rd moon, is called the Maple Sugar Moon, the only time of the year sap flows from the maple trees. In the hilltowns of Western Mass it’s the month steam pours out of our area sugar shacks and fresh maple sap is boiled down to make maple syrup. Many sugar shacks invite families to their annual pancake breakfasts during these weeks to enjoy fresh maple syrup and share in the process of making syrup.

There will be a maple sugaring showcase presented by Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, MA this weekend. Click here for details.


Massachsetts map of sugarhouse distribution

There are many area sugar shacks to bring your family to during the Maple Sap Moon that serve breakfast with the fresh maple syrup Be sure to call ahead for schedules.

    South Face Farm Sugarhouse (413) 628-3268
    Williams Farm Sugarhouse (413) 773-5186
    Davenport Maple Farm (413) 625-2866
    Gould’s Sugarhouse (413) 625-6170
    Pomeroy’s Sugarhouse (413) 568-3484
    Hanging Mountain Farm (413) 527-3210
    Steve’s Sugar Shack (413) 527-0294
    High Hopes Sugarhouse (413) 238-5919
    The Red Bucket Sugar Shack (413) 238-7710
    Additional information about sugaring and the sugaring season is available from the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association in Ashfield, MA. Call (413) 628-3912.


Maple Syrup Bucket

Sugar bush in Ashfield, MA (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Other moon legends Bruchac and London share in Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back, many of which you can see evidence of in New England during it’s cycle, include:

  • Frog Moon (Cree Legend)
  • Budding Moon (Huron Legend)
  • Strawberry Moon (Seneca Legend)
  • Acorn Moon (Pomo Legend)
  • Wild Rice Moon (Menominee Legend)
  • Moose Moon (Micmac Legend)
  • Falling Leaves Moon (Cherokee Legend)
  • Deer Horn Drop Moon (Winnebago Legend)
  • Wolf Moon (Lakota Sioux Legend)
  • Big Moon (Abenaki Legend)
  • Popping Tree Moon (Northern Cheyenne Legend)
  • Baby Bear Moon (Potawatomi Legend)


Related websites of interest:

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Originally posted 03/05/07 on Hilltown Families.

3 Comments on “Maple Sugar Moon & Sugar Shacking

  1. Hi Sara – I’m sure if you contact one of the sugar shacks in Massachusetts directly they could arrange to have Maple Syrup shipped to you in NJ. Try giving them a call directly. Best wishes!

  2. My name is SARA and mom &dad visit maine in agust and buy Sugar Moon Maple Syrop and we were wondering if we could have some shipped to us in NJ i wasnt sure.Could you email me back and let me know how much and how long it would take to get it.

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