Maple Harvest Day in the Pioneer Valley
The Sweet Taste of Spring Will Bring Communities Out & Together
Today, the beginning of maple sugaring season involves lots of tubing, tanks, and trucks for transport, as well as efficient and well-engineered industrial size evaporators. Despite the modernity of most large-scale syrup-producing operations, some of the vestiges of old time New England sugaring still remain. While it’s rare these days to find a maple harvest being boiled down in a kettle over a camp fire, many small-scale producers still tap trees with individual buckets and collect the sap by hand on a regular basis – just as western Massachusetts’ residents did centuries ago, forming the foundation upon which the industry was built.
Celebrate this year’s maple harvest at Storrowton Village’s annual Maple Harvest Day! The annual celebration of the local maple tradition will be held on Sunday, March 15th from 11am-3pm in the Big E’s historic New England village. Families can explore the village and step back in time to the days when sugaring season was entirely tube-free, and can learn about the early technologies that allowed industrious New Englanders to have a successful harvest year after year.
To learn about the techniques of the past, families can watch demonstrations of proper tree tapping technique, see workers create spiles (spouts for tapped trees) out of sumac, and watch steam billow out of a boiling kettle of sap, while learning about the intense amount of water that evaporates out of sap in order to produce syrup. Additionally, there will be demonstrations of non-maple harvest skills and techniques as well, including open hearth cooking and early American crafts.
Of course, what would a day of celebrating maple season be without a meal over which to drizzle syrup? Maple enthusiasts can enjoy a maple-filled breakfast in Storrowton Village’s Red Barn, where a meal will be served from 10am-12noon for just $5 per person! Admission to Maple Harvest Day is free, and Storrowton Village is located inside the Big E at 1305 Memorial Avenue in West Springfield. More information is available by calling 413-737-2443.
[Photo credit: (cc) John Lillis]