I’ve been dying to go to NH, and my husband has been wanting to get up to Bascom’s to get some supplies for our maple syrup making, so since it’s maple month in New Hampshire, we headed up there this past weekend and did the New Hampshire Maple Month tour of a few sugar houses. If you are interested in making syrup, want to see how it’s made, or want some delicious maple flavored goodies, this tour is a must.
I left New Hampshire with a bag filled with maple popcorn, maple fudge, maple candy, maple whoopie pies, maple cotton candy, maple cream, maple pecans, maple tea, and a plethora of ideas for what to do next with our syrup. We even got to sample some warm syrup over vanilla ice cream. Talk about amazing! The farms also hand out samples of syrup and candy. I honestly can’t wait to go back next year!
On our tour, we visited five farms. We tried to go for six, but one of them wasn’t open when we stopped by; we’ll have to catch them next year. One thing I loved about this tour was how unique each sugar house was; each had it’s own charm and story. The experience was both exciting and different at each shack. The tour was also very educational, especially for my husband and me; we are continually growing our sugar operation, so it’s really interesting for us to see how all of these sugar houses started and how they have grown since they started. We drove home with new ideas and started setting goals for next year and many years to come.
Woodard’s Sugar House
Our first stop on our tour was Woodard’s Sugar House in Surry, NH. We pulled up to this gorgeous sugar house and saw steam pouring from the cupola, and my husband was thrilled that he was going to see some syrup boiling. Mark and Kati, the owners, are a great couple, and we had a wonderful time talking to them and touring their operation. The two actually had their first date in the sugar shack, which I thought was so neat! They really have a great thing going. Their maple offerings are amazing; there is so much to choose from, and Kati has done a really great job with their products and display. They started off as a 300 tap operation and have now taken over their neighbor’s yards, have a storage building, and boil on a large oil-fired evaporator. While you’re there, ask if you can try a sample of their syrup over ice cream. It’s to die for! Woodard’s products you must buy: Maple Cotton Candy, Maple Whoopie Pies, Maple Cream, Maple Candy, Maple Fudge, and their syrup. While we were there, we got to sample a batch of the syrup they were making. It was very light and it was delightfully sweet. I’m a light syrup lover, and I am beyond glad I stopped at Woodwards. I will definitely be back again!
Bascom Maple Farms
Bascom Maple Farms is a HUGE operation and is one of the largest producers of maple syrup in New England and a supplier of maple products for sugar houses throughout New England. Bascom’s is a great place to go if you want to purchase maple supplies and equipment. They pretty much have everything you could think of and if something isn’t in their supply room, they will order it for you. If you want to know how bulk maple syrup is produced, Bascom’s is the place to go. You can tour their facility where they make 55 gallons of syrup every 10 minutes. That is a mind-blowing number! If you’re not familiar with making maple syrup, I can tell you that for me, the little operation, it takes over 8 hours to make a single gallon, just to put it in perspective. The farm has acres and acres of lines running along the road and over the road, all pulling into silos, and they have an electronic system where they can track and monitor what lines are running and which have stopped flowing. They have 8,000 and 4,000 gallon tanks and make 40,000 gallons a year, and their reverse osmosis system is so large and powerful that they need a generator to run it. Their production is both massive and impressive!
Clark’s Sugar House
Clark’s Sugar House is a rustic sugar house that was the most unique of the sugar houses we visited. The sugar house has a grille inside and you can sit and eat while the steam from their wood-fired evaporator surrounds you. They also had samples of maple syrup and sugar on snow. It was my first time having sugar on snow and it was interesting! It was almost taffy-like. It’s amazing to see how maple syrup can be used in various ways, typically just by a change in the temperature of the syrup. On another note, Clark’s owns Valley View Bison, so they offer bison burgers and bison chili at the grille. We had the bison burgers and they were delicious! Products to buy: maple pecan pie, maple cream, maple candy, doughnuts, syrup, bison meat.
Grassy Brook Maple Products
Grassy Brook Maple Products in Marlow, NH is an older operation, but they just recently built a beautiful new sugar house with a HUGE wood-fired evaporator. Grassy Brook has tables so you can sit and enjoy their freshly made pancakes, which they offer on Sundays. Products to buy: maple syrup, maple sugar, maple candy, maple tea, maple donuts.
Atkins Family Sugar House
Atkins Family Sugar House was the last sugar house on our New Hampshire Maple Month tour. Akins may look like a small operation when you pull up to their charmingly historical woodlands sugar shack, but Atkins is a 1,500 tap operation that began when Shawn Atkins was just 7 years old. Shawn had a passion for syrup making and was able to grow his operation to what it is today, an award-winning Best Syrup in New Hampshire sugar house. I loved hearing Shawn’s story about how it began and his progression throughout the years, as my eyes wandered around a sugar shack adorned with historically rich maple pieces. My husband and I could relate to a lot of his journey; it was so inspirational, and it made my husband realize that his dreams of growing our syrup operation are well within reach. And that is one of the great things about going on these maple tours. They are so educational, and if you are really interested in making syrup, they are a great way to learn and see how you can improve. We had a great time listening to Shawn tell the story of how he started as a young boy, his determination a few years later, at just 13 years old where he worked a summer job for his father, making $1,300, allowing him to purchase his first commercial evaporator; to today, and what systems he currently uses to collect and boil sap. You can see a historical timeline of Atkins Family Sugar House, with photos, on the Atkins Family Sugar House Facebook page. Maple products to buy: their AMAZING Maple Popcorn, Maple Candy, Maple Sugar, and 1st place Carlisle Award Winning Maple Syrup.
What did I learn from this trip? When you go to these sugar houses, ask questions. These sugar makers are passionate, and they want to tell their story and show you how they operate; it’s exciting for them. Like I said earlier, they are a wealth of information and we just had a blast seeing how different and unique each sugar house was. We honestly would have visited more sugar houses, but there were a bunch in the area that weren’t open to the public because it wasn’t Maple Weekend. Next year we are going to try to go back for NH Maple Weekend.
This year the 23rd Annual NH Maple Weekend will be held on March 24-25, 2018. If you are interested in touring a few sugar houses, be sure to head over to the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association’s website where they have an interactive map you can view showing you all the sugar houses in New Hampshire. If you are interested in touring the sugar houses I mentioned, we chose to stay in the southwestern portion of New Hampshire up to Bascoms, which was a radius of about a half hour – we were able to get all five sugar houses in from about 10:30 am to 3:00 pm, just to give you an idea of what you are looking at time wise. I highly recommend stopping at these sugar houses. They were all great.
You can find my Google Map outline of our maple syrup tour here.
With that, I leave you with a suggestion from Shawn Atkins: listen to the Vermont Maple Syrup Poem on YouTube 🙂
Places Mentioned in this Blog Post
Atkins Family Sugar House | 504 South Main Street, Washington, NH 03280
Bascom Maple Farms* | 64 Sugar House Road, Acworth, NH 03602
Clark’s Sugar House* | 14 Currier Road, Langdon, NH 03602
Grassy Brook Maple Products | 201 Gustin Pond Road, Marlow, NH 03456
Woodard’s Sugar House | 1200 Route 12A, Surry, NH 03431
*Just a note – if you go in the order I have listed in my blog post for the sugar houses, you will drive by Clark’s to go to Bascom’s. You can go to Clark’s first, we just needed to go shopping for supplies, so headed over to Bascom’s first. Also a note – you may not be able to find Sugar House Road on your GPS, but you should be able to find it using Google Maps, if you have GM on your phone. Otherwise, drive past Clark’s and you will see a sign for Bascom’s up the road on your left (it’s the road with the two big green tanks and a couple of newspaper mailboxes in front of them). Feel free to look at my Google Map outline to see if there is a different order that works best for you.
Did you enjoy this blog post? Pin it to Pinterest!