Guilford, CT has been an agricultural community for more than 375 years. One of the land’s best products is being produced now.
A week ago we had the frigid weather that allowed me to capture the Meetinghouse Hill churches in North Guilford. At this time of the year one assumes there is going to be maple sap running, collected and boiled for one of the best seasonally produced delicacies anywhere!!! Nights below freezing and days above… a general rule of thumb… produce the sap that is collected from trees in tubing or with buckets.
We headed North of Route 80 and back into North Guilford to see what was happening with Buster Scranton at Maple Grove Farm. Buster is a life-long producer of syrup. Take a look at a bit of his story here. Walking in to his big sugar house, we became part of a small group of adults and young kids, all watching Buster scurry from task to task. He has some new equipment this year that should allow him to boil off the water much faster (about 40 gallons of syrup for every 1 gallon of finished syrup) so that he go to sleep earlier than 3 or 4 AM on the nights he is boiling!! Keeping the syrup level down with magic drops, testing the specific gravity with his hydrometer, stoking the fire every 8 minutes with more slab wood from Peter Marlowe’s saw mill, and filtering the syrup, etc., etc., etc is a very busy process.
Buster also urged us to go down to The Dudley Farm and see their smaller operation. After buying some of his incredible popping corn (syrup to be purchased at another date), we headed to our next stop.
If you don’t know about Guilford’s Dudley Farm, definitely follow the hyperlink to learn more. George Page and his crew of adults and kids were collecting from 25 buckets and boiling under cover in a fashion that my father did and many folks still do to produce the same nectar. Theirs is not a commercial operation but it is making syrup and continuing a tradition that is definitely in the blood of many of us New Englanders!
It was fun to see some of the kids who had broken off long sticks from downed branches taking pink heart-shaped marshmallows to toast in the flames. It’s too bad there isn’t any snow on the ground that might have allowed them to make “leather aprons” too!!!
What a wonderful time of the year– the days are getting longer and there is new maple syrup. Delicious on all counts!!
My hope is that I can get back to Buster’s this year with a new camera to recapture this sweet- sweet image from a couple of years ago!
Peter Otis Photos LLC
PLACES… PLANTS… PEOPLE… PLUS OTHER GEMS…