By Susan Hayes
While the Connecticut countryside is still blanketed with pristine white snow, some resilient farmers are already harvesting their first crop; sap from the state’s numerous sugar maple trees. Mid February’s emerging daily sunshine has enough strength to cause the sap to run and the maple syrup season to commence. You may spot those silver tin buckets hanging on the maple trees or see a waft of smoke emerging from a previously dormant sugarhouse. Many sugarhouses are scattered through out the state and allow visitors to witness the syrup making process during the sugaring season. Tours are available and syrup is for sale at even some of the smallest operations seasonally. A complete county by county list can be found on the Connecticut department of agriculture’s web site. Here you will find all of the information you need to find the sugarhouse closest to your town.
Lamothe’s sugar house in Burlington is open year round and is one of the larger operations offering mail order sales, as well products for sale on site. Lamothe’s is located down a windy country road but is actually quite close to Bristol and Farmington. The charming retail shop at Lamothe’s sells jugs of their pure Connecticut grown and produced real maple syrup, but maple sugar candy, maple cream and addictive maple kettle corn that is hard to quit eating on the ride home is for sale as well! Jams, jellies and other specialty food items line the shelves at Lamothe’s along side country gift wares. In season, mid-February until the end of March on Saturdays and Sundays, you can see the syrup being made at Lamothe’s with a tour guide. Other times of the year, one may take a self- guided tour. If this does not leave you craving a stack of fluffy pancakes or a Belgium waffle doused in maple syrup and a bit of melted butter, I don’t know what will!
The town of Hebron celebrates the running of the sap with an annual Maple festival. The twenty second annual maple festival will be held on March 10and 11 throughout the bucolic community of Hebron. Learn about the syrup making process, attend the pancake breakfast or sample the maple cotton candy, maple milk, childhood favorite, sugar on snow, or the maple pudding cake! However, the maple festival is not only about all things maple, other activities include, historic church tours, letter boxing at Burnt Hill Park, a craft fair, face-painting, a birds of prey exhibit and much more. Take the chill out of late winter and beat the winter blues with a trip to the state’s first of the year agricultural festival with the family.
The movie character “Elf” had the right idea when he unabashedly sang the praises of maple syrup! Support Connecticut’s maple sugar houses. They produce Connecticut grown syrup and buying locally always feels right to me. There are many such sugar shacks dotting the state and they usher in the season of growth and rebirth here in Connecticut with their sap collection. When the sugar season starts, spring cannot be too far behind and other farmers are just beginning to plan their crops for the year!
89 Stone Road
Burlington, CT 06013
860-675-5043Hours:Monday – Thursday 10 – 6, Friday – Saturday 10 – 5, Sunday 12 – 5
Hebron Maple Festival