Sugar House Report
Thanks to everyone who gave advice on where to go for our recent sugar house trip!
We ended up going to southern NH, we decided it wasn't worth the 2+ hour drive out to Western MA. Our first stop was at Parker's Maple Barn (http://www.parkersmaplebarn.com/), for breakfast and since they were boiling . The pancakes were good (but not great), they seemed to have some spices mixed in. The sausage patties were excellent. Tasted the ham hash (mediocre) and the deep fried french toast (delicious!). Overall, we thought it was good but not worth the drive just to go there.
They were boiling at Parker's, they had a pretty good tour. Learned about how syrup is made, some of the history, grading, filtering ... overall a good tour. Picked up some syrup at the gift shop - not much syrup compared to kitsch.
Then we went on to Folsom Sugar House (http://www.folsomsugarhouse.com/). They weren't boiling because it had been so cold. But that had it's advantages - not crowded at all and we were able to better see how everything worked. We talked to the owner, who gave us a really detailed description of the process. He also had some samples of maple wood showing the effect of tapping on the trees - very interesting! It was nice to get a personal tour! They had a small shop with lots of various maple goodies, as well as a few jams and pancake mixes. Samples of maple cream and syrup too. They make maple taffy too, for those of you that are interested - said he learned from someone up in Dover.
We purchased syrup from both places, but haven't tried either one yet, so I can't give a taste comparison. And picked up some taffy at Folsom - probably try that when the sugar high dies down.
Overall, I would highly recommend Folsom Sugar House, as long as you don't need breakfast. Parker's was good, but next year we would probably try somewhere else for breakfast / boiling. Each place was about an hour from Boston, and they were about 45 min apart.
Thanks for all your help!
Just an FYI for anyone interested in maple processing, Maine "Maple Sunday" will be held this year on Sunday March 25th. This is an annual event where participating maple farms hold "open houses" with tours/tutorials and in some cases entertainment.
More details at www.getrealgetmaine.com