The True Sweetness of Vermont
Join us in the spring at the Trapp Family Lodge sugarhouse as we renew the centuries-old tradition of making pure Vermont maple syrup. Every March when the days become longer and warmer, we start the tradition of maple sugaring. We still “sugar” the old-fashioned way, using buckets to collect sap, and using a sled and a team of draft horses to gather sap. We boil the sap down to syrup in our sugarhouse in a very large wood-fired evaporator.
How We Sugar
The maple sugaring process.
Today, we sugar very much the same way that the Trapp Family did back in the 1940’s and ‘50’s. We set about 1200 taps annually, and we produce approximately 300 gallons of syrup per year on average. Everything is done the old-fashioned way, by hand and with a lot of hard labor.
We normally start tapping our trees in early March. We start boiling sap into syrup as soon as we get a “sap run”. Warm days with temperatures in the 40”s, and cold nights in the 20’s causes the sap to run in the trees. We start gathering sap when we have a few inches of sap in the buckets. The sap is then gathered with the horses and sled and brought to the sugarhouse where it is stored until we are ready to boil it into syrup, usually later that day or the following day. It normally takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.
Each Saturday during the sugaring season, we host a traditional Sugar-on-Snow party at the sugarhouse. Take a horse drawn sleigh ride, cross-country ski, or snowshoe to the Trapp Family Lodge sugarhouse nestled in the woods behind the Lodge. You will be able to view the boiling process, enjoy a wonderful old Vermont treat of Sugar-on-Snow, and get a first-hand idea of what it takes to make maple syrup.
We are very happy to announce that our sap and process is organic. This guarantees that Trapp Family maple syrup is free of any chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides. It also means that our trees are managed according to “Best Acceptable Management Practices”
History of Maple Sugarmaking
A brief overview of the von Trapp maple sugaring.
Maple sugaring has been taking place on this property since the mid 1800’s. The original owner of the property, a gentleman by the name of Presson Gale, sugared on the site that the new sugarhouse currently occupies. The Salvas family sugared on this site in the first half of the 20th century, before selling the property to the Trapp family in the early 1940’s.
After purchasing the property, the Trapp family ran the maple operation in the 1940’s, ‘50’s, and early ‘60’s. The sugarhouse fell into disrepair and sat idle for the next 35 years. In 1995, we built and equipped a much larger sugarhouse on the same site as the original. In the spring of ’96, we were once again making maple syrup here at Trapp Family Lodge.
Today, our operation is run the same way that the Trapp family did in the 1940’s. We still use all buckets, and we gather our sap with a gathering sled and a team of horses. We wanted to re-create a traditional, turn of the last century, Vermont maple sugaring operation to keep in touch with our deep roots in Vermont and Trapp Family history. Our syrup production varies from year to year, depending on the weather and other variables. Currently, we set 1200 taps annually, averaging 300 gallons of syrup per year.
A breakdown of annual tallies appears below:
Sugarhouse Facts and Questions
Frequently asked questions about maple sugaring.
Q: When is Maple season?
A: Our maple season is usually a four week period sometime from March 1st- April 30th. On average, our season is Mid-March – Mid April. Where is the sugarhouse? In the woods beyond the ski shop meadow, about 800 feet from the ski shop.
Q: How can I get there?
A: When there is snow on the ground, you can either ski or snowshoe via Sugar Road and Sugar Chute, or via Maple Lane. (Straight across the meadow from the ski shop).
Q: Are there sleigh rides to the sugarhouse?
A: Sleigh rides are available only for the Saturday sugar-on-snow parties.
Q: How many trees do you tap?
A: We normally set 1200 taps on about 900 trees each year.
Q: How much syrup do you make?
A: We average about 300 gallons of syrup per year.
Q: Where do you sell your syrup?
A: All of our syrup is sold in the gift shops on Trapp Family property, or our mail-order catalogue, or on-line at www.trappfamily.com.
Q: Do you have any tubing taps or systems?
A: No, all of our taps are still metal buckets.
Q: Can visitors come to the sugarhouse?
A: YES. Visitors are always welcome any time the sugarhouse is open.
Q: How do we know if the sugarhouse is open?
A: By checking the daily Sugarhouse Report posted in the lodge or on our website at www.trappfamily.com.
Q: What is the difference between the different grades?
A: There are four retail grades of maple syrup in Vermont. From lightest to darkest, they are; Vermont Fancy Grade, Vermont Grade A Medium Amber, Vermont Grade A Dark Amber, and Vermont Grade B. The lighter the color, the lighter and more delicate the maple flavor. The darker the syrup, the stronger the maple flavor.
Q: Which one is the best?
A: The one that’s the best is the one you like best.