BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Sugarers from all over the state will open their doors as part of Vermont Maple Open House Weekend, putting the making of a Green Mountain staple up close.
The Vermont Maple Sugarers Association is expecting between 30,000 to 40,000 visitors to the state for this weekend. Many sugarers will be opening their doors, excited and ready to talk about their product.
Don Gilbert is checking on his maple trees at Sherman Hollow Organic Farm, and some of them are doing quite well. He has a total of 375 trees tapped, about 25 of them have buckets and are not connected to tubes. In all, he makes about 100 gallons of maple syrup a season.
"There are so many great parts to sugaring, I just love being out the woods," Gilbert said.
Sugarers like Gilbert from will open their doors to visitors as part of Vermont Maple Open House Weekend.
"Get them familiar with the production of maple syrup and also get to know the local sugarer. From that, it usually generates sales and a lot of friendships," Gilbert said.
This weekend is important to Amanda Voyer, the executive director of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association. She says some people still don't know the difference between real maple syrup and its impersonators.
"The best way to get people to understand the difference is to get them to taste it," Voyer said.
She says Vermont makes the best maple syrup and the most in the U.S., citing that 50 percent of the nation's maple syrup comes from Vermont.
"It's such a long-held tradition, it has such a rich heritage here in Vermont. There are plenty of sugar makers that are eight generations deep into their family business," Voyer said.
Sugarers are not immune to the crazy weather we've had. It's been a long winter for them and a slow start to the season.
With poor weather expected this weekend, Gilbert says there's no better place to be than a sugaring house on a cold, dreary day.
"It's wonderful to be in a sugarhouse. It's warm that steam, the wonderful aroma of the maple syrup boiling. So I still hope we will have lots of visitors that will come out and enjoy that," he said.
Citizen Cider will be hosting a $5 pancake breakfast with McKenzie maple ham and Runamok syrup served up by the Burlington Fire Fighter's Association. There will be live music and other entertainment.