While many take time after the holidays to wind down, this time of year is when the Fuller’s Sugarhouse team really get to work. January and February are crucial time of year for us sugar makers, as we carefully and methodically prepare and plan for the months ahead.
Each year, we tap over 26,000 trees and repair well over 200 miles of tubing as part of our routine prep work. This is an important time of year as we work hard to prepare for what’s to come… sap!
The woods we tap are located in Randolph, New Hampshire and our Sugarhouse is in Jefferson, NH, facing the northwestern side of Mt. Washington. In fact, on a clear day, you can see its peak from our Sugarhouse on Route 2. We often say that good soil, state of the art equipment, and our constant attention are the reason for our quality, award-winning products.
As Fuller’s Sugarhouse celebrates our 50th anniversary in 2023, we are hopeful our thorough preparation will lead to a successful season! We’ll leave you with a quick Q&A with Dave Fuller for as the first #FullersMapleAlert of the year.
Preparing for the 2023 Sugaring Season – Q&A with Dave
What does a typical day look like for the woods crew during this time of year?
The woods crew arrives to the Sugarhouse at 7:30am to load up the 4-wheelers and head out into the woods for the day. They’ll stay in the woods working until 3:30pm, often packing lunch to take their lunch break out in the woods. Depending on the day, the woods crew can be up to two miles away from the Sugarhouse.
What elevation are you working and tapping trees at?
We work anywhere between 1’800 – 2’300 feet in elevation, depending on where we may be working that day. As a point of reference, the top of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in New England is 6’288.
Does elevation affect the taste of maple syrup?
Elevation doesn’t necessarily affect the flavor of our maple syrup; it is more about the soil type. Fuller’s Sugarhouse taps trees rooted in mostly granite soil, while other areas may have different types of soil, such as limestone in some regions of Vermont. There are probably 4-5 different flavor profiles just within the state of NH – it may be subtle to some, but a good sugar maker can tell the difference.
The mineral composition of granite soil helps significantly with developing flavor but makes the cleaning process for equipment more in-depth. When the sap is running, we have long, 16-hour days. We spend about 4 hours a day – the “glory hours” – making syrup, the rest of the time, we do a number of things – cleaning, maintenance, etc. This is an incredibly important step in our process.
And a fun one… What’s your favorite way to enjoy pure maple syrup?
A good, quality vanilla ice cream with golden syrup dumped on top – it doesn’t get any better than that! Whatever grade is your favorite, go get yourself some good quality ice cream and pour it on!