It’s Maple Season: Sugar House Owners Make Positive Impact on NH Students & Community
There's nothing better than real New Hampshire maple syrup.
Kate Stanley, her husband Tim Robinson, and the students at Madison Elementary School know that better than anyone.
Kate and Tim own Turkey Street Maples, a sugar house in Chocorua, New Hampshire. When she's not producing maple syrup, Kate also works as a teacher at Madison Elementary. Thanks to her efforts, the school has integrated a hands-on maple sugaring experience into the 3rd & 4th grade curriculum.
This writer journeyed north last weekend to meet Kate, Tim, and the students, and learn more about what the program is all about.
According to Kate, there are 350 syrup-producing members in the NH Maple Producers Association, around 175 of which are open for Maple Weekend (happening on March 18 & 19 this year). Maple Weekend, Kate said, is "a celebration of mapling in New Hampshire. It's a way to get the general public out and learning about maple sugaring and how it's made." During this time, sugar houses like Turkey Street Maples welcome visitors from all over.
So how does Madison Elementary factor into all this?
A few years after Kate began teaching at the school, she and principal Heather Woodward teamed up to create a program allowing 3rd and 4th graders to learn all about maple syrup and tapping as part of their curriculum. Each year during maple season (which lasts anywhere from 15-35 days), the students get to go outside and try maple tapping themselves, which this writer got to see firsthand.
The kids all had a great time, and you could tell that they not only enjoyed the experience, but genuinely love their school and teachers. Several parents were also present, and seemed equally grateful that their children had such a unique, hands-on learning opportunity. It truly is an awesome program.
After we finished tree tapping, Kate showed everyone the evaporator, which boils the tree sap before turning it into the maple syrup we know and love. It turns out that it takes a whole lot of sap – five gallons, in fact – to produce just one pint of syrup. Interesting stuff, right?
This writer then went to Turkey Street Maples and received a tour from Kate's husband, Tim, learned more about their operation, and tasted some real New Hampshire maple syrup (yes, it's definitely worth the hype). Here's a look at the evaporator there, which is on a much larger scale than the one at the elementary school:
We're big fans of Kate and Tim, and the work they do to ensure that the everyone, big and small, learns about the production process behind one of the state's sweetest delicacies.
To learn more about Turkey Street Maples, click here. Although they don't have set hours, Kate says you're more than welcome to call any time during the year, or visit any time between 10am-3pm on Maple Weekend (March 18 & 19). If Kate or Tim is home, one of them will gladly give you a tour. If you're interested in buying some of their amazing syrup, you can call (603) 323-9320, or order online here.