Teaching visitors about maple can be as rewarding as tasting it

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RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) Sugarhouses across the state continued the tradition of opening their doors for the annual Maple Open House Weekend.

With more than 100 participating sugarhouses, the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association was expecting up to 40,000 visitors to the state.

Employees at Mountain View Maple in Richmond Saturday said it has been a slow start to the year, but the current weather has them optimistic for the rest of the season. They say the open house weekend is one of their favorites of the year

"Seeing all of the young kids, seeing the people who have never experienced it. We had some folks from Washington state who had never been in a sugarhouse. It is so much fun to explain the whole process," said Jim Giroux of Mountainview Mapleworks.

Tourism officials say this weekend isn't just an opportunity for out-of-staters to get a taste of maple making, but it also encourages Vermonters to visit other Vermonters.

The departments of tourism and agriculture teamed up to promote the big weekend, getting intimate looks inside the farms and sugarhouses.
Officials say video promotions are a way to tell Vermont's story through the eyes of the people who know it best.

"There's definitely the idyllic maple farm that people have in their brains, but there's also a lot of innovation and it's a big growth industry, whether it's bourbon barrel-aging syrup, or if it's powering your sugarhouse with solar power and all of the technology that goes into it," said Nate Formalarie of the Vt. Department of Tourism. "So when people are picking up that bottle off the shelf when they're not in Vermont, there's a story to be told behind that bottle."

The open house weekend continued Sunday all across the state.