Special to GOOD Morning Wilton from CT Bites and writer Natalie Leavitt…
It was a warm February morning and my son and I joined a group of families as we gathered at Ambler Farm in Wilton, CT to kick off the maple sugaring season. We were greeted by program director Kevin Meehan and received an introductory lesson on how to tap a maple tree. Most of us stood in awe as the sap started to drip out of the tree upon tapping it. Many cheered with excitement for what was about to begin was a fantastic winter farming adventure and a great lesson in farm-to-table.
We then received our buckets from assistant program manager Jennifer Grass (pictured below, left) and proceeded to carefully select our “Giving Trees” on the farm. We hung our buckets on the trees and captured photos to commemorate the day. (Our tree was number 42 and pretty far from the sugar shack! It was an adventure after all!) Then we waited. We waited a week. During that week, many of us wondered just how much sap we would find in our buckets when we returned to the farm.
Finally, the week of waiting was over and it was time for us to return to our trees to see the progress. Winter farming is very weather dependent and has many variables, one of which requires days with temperatures above freezing and nights where temperatures are below freezing. With warm days and nights, it didn’t yield much sap that week. We were encouraged that farming takes patience and we collected what we could, hung our buckets back on the trees, and hoped for those warm days and freezing cold nights to come. Another week went by and an arctic blast brought a ton of sap pouring into our buckets! It was truly a magical moment when we lifted the top off of the buckets to see them full.
Ambler Farm has three more Maple Syrup Open House events: Saturday, Feb. 29, Saturday, March 7 and Saturday, March 14, from 1-2 p.m. both days. It is free and open to the public.
Experience a New England tradition at Ambler Farm–turning sap into syrup! Kids and families will have an opportunity to tap a tree, take the maple syrup taste test, learn about Native American, colonial, and modern methods of making syrup and, of course, taste Ambler Farm’s very own maple syrup over vanilla ice cream. Bottles of Ambler Farm Maple Syrup will be available for sale.