“There is in some parts of New England a kind of tree… whose juice that weeps out of incisions, if it be permitted slowly to exhale away excess moisture, doth congeal into a sweet and saccharine substance…” Robert Boyle, 1663
Even though we tend to think of maple ‘everything’ in autumn, it wouldn’t be Vermont if March didn’t bring the characteristic site of steam rising from sugar house vents. Yup, spring is actually sugarin’ time in Vermont. In late winter, when days become warm while nights are still cold, sugar-rich sap begins to move inside the maple tree out to the buds to make new leaves in the spring. Native Americans were the first to learn how to tap into a sugar maple and collect the sap, and they later taught this skill to European colonists. It was then discovered that they could boil the sap after it was collected to steam off most of the water and increase its sugar concentration. By this process, thirty to forty gallons of sap are used to make one gallon of syrup.