March 2011 - Highlights of the 2011 season:
Deer licks on the side of our truck - they like the road salt.
Antique steam whistle - sounds like a train!
Collapsed snowmobile shed - heavy snow! Snowmobiles are underneath!
March 2011 - In celebration of Vermont maple syrup, Hillsboro Sugarworks 2nd Annual Coloring Contest - 'Animals in the Sugarbush'. Many talented young artists participated in this annual event. First place winners are proud new owners of a savings bond from our local bank, with second and third place winners taking home some Vermont maple syrup for their family pancakes. Great fun had by all! Winners were announced at our Maple Open House Weekend.
ANIMALS IN THE SUGARBUSH
March 2011 - 'Producer of the Week' at one of our accounts - Middlebury Natural Food Coop and maple demo.
Hillsboro Sugarworks Co-op Questionnaire
by Sue Folino
Hillsboro Sugarworks is located in the hills of Bristol, Vermont. The farm is owned and operated by Dave and Sue Folino. All Hillsboro syrup comes from their own 351 acres of woods. The Folinos tap approximately fifteen thousand trees and produce between five and six thousand gallons of syrup each year.
Please tell us about your sugaring business.
Dave started sugaring in 1979, with an interest and curiosity leading to a regular springtime hobby where he was renting a piece of land that used to be sugared for generations, but had laid dormant for years. He started tapping and grooming the woods with one horse and some buckets. The hobby grew and grew. It evolved over the years, with a very healthy forest and many years of careful attention.
Our customers are always asking us what the difference is between the grades of syrup. Can you tell us, in layman's terms, what the difference really is?
The difference is taste, color, and seasonal. Generally, Fancy is early season syrup with a very light, delicate color and flavor. As the season progresses with warmer temperatures, we get Medium Amber, Dark Amber, and end with Grade B when the days and nights are warmer. There can be some variables in grades as the temperatures fluctuate from cold to warm to cold freezes. The flavor continues to increase with intensity as the season progresses with a much stronger maple flavor by the end of the sugaring season.
Many of us use maple syrup as an alternative to sugar. Can you talk about how it should be used differently from sugar for baking?
Maple syrup can be substituted for white sugar in cooking, making a healthy alternative, and it works well in recipes. Use 3/4 cup of maple syrup for 1 cup of white sugar, reducing the liquid by 3 tablespoons for each cup of syrup used in a recipe.
How many hours per day do you spend making syrup during the peak weeks of harvest?
On a busy day with really good sap flow, we could be boiling for 6-8 hours straight. Many nights if we are in for a freeze, we try to end the night of boiling with the timing of when the temperatures drop below freezing and the sap stops running, which can be late in the evening.
What is your favorite maple syrup product?
Maple syrup! It is versatile in recipes, can be used daily in coffee, oatmeal, etc. And all the other great maple products start from pure, sweet maple syrup. It is so satisfying to labor hard, have all the equipment running properly and watch a good sap run coming into the tanks. The smell of boiling sap into syrup, the camaraderie and the exhausting evenings are all a part of the product.
January 2011 - A reconstruction during the winter months was completed with a new vacuum releaser system, vacuum pumps and an insulated sweet sap tank room.