Howell Living History Farm’s maple sugaring program introduces students to a uniquely North American sugar crop that marked history in north-eastern America. Howell Farm’s living history approach draws students back to a time period when the principles of cultivating and preserving food were familiar to most people in America. During the maple sugaring season, Howell Farm welcomes school groups to tap into one of North America’s sweetest natural treasures by helping make, use, and learn the history of maple syrup while visiting this circa 1900 farm.
Firewood Cutting: Cutting firewood for sap boiling is the first step in preparing for a sugaring operation. Howell Farm will help you keep warm by putting you to work sawing wood with a two-person saw and splitting wood with a wedge and hammer. You will learn about varieties of wood and their use for fuel, buildings, fencing and/or tools.
Tree Tapping & Sap Gathering: Learn how to identify a sugar maple tree. Volunteers from your group will help us tap a sugar maple tree. All will taste the sap, if it is flowing, before beginning the work of collecting it from the many trees in our sugarbush. You may also load some of the sap on a horse or oxen drawn wagon to take back to the farm for syrup making.
Syrup Making: Learn how sap is boiled down in our evaporator to make syrup. Make yourself a homemade tap from a piece of staghorn sumac and learn how the methods of collecting and cooking the sap have changed over the history of maple sugaring. Learn how maple syrup is graded and see different products made from maple syrup.
Pancake Making & Tasting: Learn the purpose for maple sugaring when you visit the kitchen. Using wheat grown on the Farm, help grind and sift flour and then take a turn churning butter. Learn about the conveniences of a circa 1900 kitchen while you sample a pancake topped with homemade butter and maple syrup!