Food & Beverage, Things to Do, Travel

March Madness Maple Style – Celebrate The Onset of Maple Tapping Season in Vermont

Maple Open House Weekend

Are you mad for maple? Does the taste of fresh maple syrup make your taste buds shiver with excitement? Sounds like you might enjoy Vermont’s Maple Open House Weekend this March.

March is mad about more than basketball, in fact, in Vermont March is known for Maple Madness when Maple Open House Weekend comes around. Maple Open House Weekend is an annual event celebrating Vermont’s sugaring season. Over the course of March 25th and 26th, sugar makers throughout the state will invite visitors in for a fresh taste of the sugar and experience this unique time of year.

Let’s Get Mad For Maple! Maple Open House Weekend

Vermont’s Love Affair With Maple

maple open house weekend - Cold Spring Sugaring
Source: Cold Spring Sugaring

Originally collected by the indigenous people of North America, maple syrup has been extracted from trees in the northern U.S. for centuries. Out of the entire U.S., Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup, and Vermont maple syrup accounts for 6% of the global supply. The maple syrup industry plays an important role in Vermont’s economy and provides thousands of jobs. It’s safe to say that Vermont and maple syrup go together like salt and pepper.

How It’s Made

Part of the fun of Maple Open House Weekend is going to the sugar house open houses and seeing how the syrup is made! The reason why Vermont is key to producing maple syrup is because of its climate. Maple syrup is made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees. These trees thrive in cold climates, and when the weather begins to cool after summer and autumn, the trees store starch in their trunks and roots. Later on, in late winter and early spring, the starch turns into sugar, which rises in the sap.

To extract the sap, holes are drilled into the tree trunks. Heat is applied to the sap to evaporate the water leaving only the concentrated syrup.

maple open house weekend Cold Spring Sugaring
Source: Cold Spring Sugaring

Where to Enjoy Maple Open House Weekend

As mentioned, March is when the trees are tapped and the sap is extracted. To celebrate the beautiful Vermont tradition of tree tapping, the various sugar houses become open to the public! Vermont is home to many sugar houses, some of our favorites include:

Some of the activities you can expect to enjoy during Maple Open House Weekend are:

  • Tours of sugarhouse and woods
  • Pancake breakfasts
  • Maple Candy-Making Demonstrations
  • Live Music
  • Horse-drawn Sleigh Rides
  • Sugar-on-snow
  • Maple syrup samples
  • Maple donuts, maple cotton candy, and other maple goodies
  • Maple syrup for purchase

Learning to Cook With Maple Syrup

maple open house weekend - maple chicken
Vermont Maple Chicken, Cook Academy

Vermont loves its maple syrup, and it loves to cook with it as much as possible! Not only do you have the opportunity to taste all things maple syrup, but you can also learn how to cook with it. The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa is home to Cook Academy, a fun little cooking school which offers a plethora of cooking classes. One of the most popular cooking classes offered is the Vermont Maple Class. Offered year-round, in the class you’ll learn how to cook some of Vermont’s most signature products, including:

  • Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette with Vermont Goat Cheese, Greens, and Maple Pepper Pecans
  • Maple Ginger Pan Roasted Statler Chicken Breasts
  • Steamed Maple Root Vegetables
  • Creamy Maple Polenta
  • Maple Crème Brulee

Ready for a maple filled weekend? Go ahead and start making your plans to attend Maple Open House Weekend, or just plan a getaway to Vermont anytime over the spring and summer to enjoy fresh maple syrup! Vermont is especially beautiful in the spring and summer, with an abundance of nature at one’s fingertips to enjoy. For a luxurious getaway, and to be close to many of the popular sugar houses, we recommend booking a stay at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa. Happy tasting!

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