March 23, 2013 - Sugaring Off Festival and Hill Scramble with St Peters
The Boston Sierra Club ICO's trip to the Weston maple sugaring festival was a sweet success!
After a few missed turns, all sixteen of us arrived in Weston (eleven kids, St. Peters staff member Placido, ICO leader Rucker, and volunteers Jeff, Liz, and Susie). It was quite the scene and we were surrounded with all things maple syrup (maple muffins, maple smoothies, pancakes with maple syrup). We were even able to see trees that had been tapped and had buckets hanging from them! None of the children had ever had maple syrup before so we were in the perfect place. Despite being a relatively small area there was a lot for us to see and do. The kids all took turns pedaling a stationary bike that powered the blender that was making the maple smoothies. They were finally able to taste the fruits of their labor after about 10 minutes and all enjoyed the most blended smoothie anyone has ever had.
We then watched a band of two play the violin and banjo as well as sing - they were quite good! This distracted everyone enough to pass the time while we waited our turn to check out the sugar shack. Once inside, we were greeted with the warmth of the boiling maple sap and the most amazing smell. We listened to a very thorough presentation from three boys who were volunteers for the farm. They told us a bunch of interesting facts including:
1. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup
2. The size of the tree determines how many taps it can have (they measure by wrapping their arms around the tree).
3. The Land's Sake is one of the last sugar houses in the country to still use a wood burning stove to boil their sap (most use propane).
4. They produce mainly grade B syrup (darker and more maple flavor than the widely available grade A).
We then piled into our cars/the van and headed to Cat Rock Park for a quick hike. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground and we ended up climbing up a steep hill. The kids all loved this and were throwing snow balls as well as rolling down the hill and even climbing tress! When we made it to the top we had great view of the area which everyone enjoyed before heading back down.
After our hike, everyone was a little worn out and ready for some lunch. We made our way over to Papa Gino's and demolished five pizzas! Before heading home, we closed with a circle where everyone said what heir favorite part of the trip was (playing in the snow topped the list). Everyone agreed they would eat maple syrup again!