We boil down the springtime sap from 2500 maple trees living on our hillside in Weston, Vermont. All of our sap comes from one sugarbush, so the syrup tastes like Bobo’s Mountain: the soil, minerals, organic material, water and the trees. Bobo’s Mountain Sugar is a wood-fired operation, and we use wood sourced either from our land or from our neighbors to ensure our fuel is local.
It takes a lively mix of science and magic to make maple syrup, and we wait for those perfect early spring days where night-time temperatures are below freezing and day-time temperatures are above freezing. Then, as the sap is running, we collect it, light up a fire, and boil it down to syrup. Nothing is added and only water is removed. When the syrup comes off the pans and you have your first taste of Bobo’s Mountain…perfection.
One of the best things about sugaring is how we are held so close to the transition from winter to spring: the most powerful seasonal change in northern New England. We begin by fixing lines and tapping trees wearing snowshoes in deep-winter February. The first March boils are cold, quiet ones – wearing jackets and hats until the sugar house warms up enough to start shedding layers. Outside is still white and frozen solid. But by mid April, we’re boiling with the doors wide open, wearing T-shirts, and listening to the first sounds of spring: the water running down the hill, wood frogs singing in the pond, and Red Sox on the radio. After that, we are back in the woods in sneakers, swatting black flies, and watching the spring ephemeral flowers pop off the mountains. There is nothing subtle about this transition, and it’s a gift to be pulled through it covered in sticky syrup.