Ferrisburgh kids hands-on lesson in sugaring - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Ferrisburgh kids hands-on lesson in sugaring

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"We have two gallons of maple syrup so far. It's just really fun," said Ferrisburgh 4th Grader Avery Husk.

It's not every day a sugar house is on school grounds, but the kids at Ferrisburgh Elementary took a break from the classroom Monday to learn about the sweet stuff.

"You got to see how they make all the stuff from the sap to the syrup, to the candy, to the powder stuff," said 4th grader Hannah Kelly.

The project is an extension of an existing Farm-to-School program that aims to involve and educate students on the land around them.  And on the liquid gold that has been made in Vermont for ages.  
 "Especially around Ferrisburgh and Addison County, there are a tremendous amount of sugar makers," said Teacher Judy Elson. "So this is a way to bring it to them. It's a part of our culture -- long history of sugar making."
The sugarhouse is owned by parent volunteer Nick Patch, who said tapping into the kids education is well worth his donation of time and materials. "They seem really enthusiastic," he said. "They learn some science while at the same time get a hands on feel for how this product is made from our forest."

"We had a lot of hands on stuff inside the classroom, but this is one of the most special activities we have ever had here," Husk said.

In mid-February the school tapped the maple trees across the street on the town hall lawn.  Since then they have collected 100 gallons of sap and are boiling that to complete the process. Tapping, collecting and now boiling -- the students didn't learn from reading or watching, they actually were the sugarmakers -- and of course put their taste buds to the test.

"I can think -- people had to do all that stuff just to make that. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, so that is a lot of working to do," Kelly said.

A lot of work -- that certainly paid off.  "It's delicious," Kelly added.

School officials said they hope to make several gallons of maple syrup by next week. The finished product will be used in the school cafeteria breakfast program, so all of the students can taste it.

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