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Spring snowstorm throws wrench in plans for Maple Open House Weekend

While Saturday’s snowstorm is going to be a big boost for ski resorts in our region, it comes at a cost for another industry.Both New York and Vermont are having their maple open house weekend, but the storm has thrown a wrench in the plans for many participating sugarhouses.Browns River Maple in Essex Junction is just one of several sugar makers that have made the call to close on Saturday, on a day they’re used to seeing the most foot traffic of the season.”I think about the last five or six seasons, where we had this open house on a weekend, Saturday is always the biggest day. Literally hundreds of people coming through Sunday, much less,” said John Bourbon, a foreman at Browns River Maple.More than one hundred producers are signed up to participate this year, but now, all are challenged by what could bring the highest snow totals of the year.It’s a blow to sales, but an even bigger blow to sugar makers getting to connect with the community.”We give people a tour, an explanation of all that, how the sugarhouse works, how the rig works, accumulation of sap, etc. And we all can look forward to that. You know, we like sharing that,” Bourbon said.Another major concern for open house weekend is making sure word gets out quickly.”The change in weather on Saturday is pushing a lot of those people to Sunday, and also just missing some of the in-person time. So that’s, that’s disappointing,” said the executive director for Vermont Sugar Makers’ Association, Allison Hope.But as they’ve had to do all throughout this sugaring season, participating producers are doing everything they can to adapt to the weather, which, in recent sugaring seasons, started with the first tap.Hope said, “I know that people are tapping and boiling earlier than they ever have.” “First, we had an early start and it caught us by surprise, and our normal tapping time started probably two weeks later than it should have, and then we had back-to-back windstorms about four or five days apart,” Bourbon said.After overcoming obstacle after obstacle so far this season, sugar makers, like Browns River Maple, are more than ready for visitors.”By all means, come on up. We’ll teach you a little something about sugaring, give you the 10 cent tour,” Bourbon said.Vermont Sugar Makers’ Association encourages people to check their website to stay up to date on which sugar houses will be open on Saturday or on the last Saturday of March.They have a map that will show you the closest participating sugar houses near you.

While Saturday’s snowstorm is going to be a big boost for ski resorts in our region, it comes at a cost for another industry.

Both New York and Vermont are having their maple open house weekend, but the storm has thrown a wrench in the plans for many participating sugarhouses.

Browns River Maple in Essex Junction is just one of several sugar makers that have made the call to close on Saturday, on a day they’re used to seeing the most foot traffic of the season.

“I think about the last five or six seasons, where we had this open house on a weekend, Saturday is always the biggest day. Literally hundreds of people coming through Sunday, much less,” said John Bourbon, a foreman at Browns River Maple.

More than one hundred producers are signed up to participate this year, but now, all are challenged by what could bring the highest snow totals of the year.

It’s a blow to sales, but an even bigger blow to sugar makers getting to connect with the community.

“We give people a tour, an explanation of all that, how the sugarhouse works, how the rig works, accumulation of sap, etc. And we all can look forward to that. You know, we like sharing that,” Bourbon said.

Another major concern for open house weekend is making sure word gets out quickly.

“The change in weather on Saturday is pushing a lot of those people to Sunday, and also just missing some of the in-person time. So that’s, that’s disappointing,” said the executive director for Vermont Sugar Makers’ Association, Allison Hope.

But as they’ve had to do all throughout this sugaring season, participating producers are doing everything they can to adapt to the weather, which, in recent sugaring seasons, started with the first tap.

Hope said, “I know that people are tapping and boiling earlier than they ever have.”

“First, we had an early start and it caught us by surprise, and our normal tapping time started probably two weeks later than it should have, and then we had back-to-back windstorms about four or five days apart,” Bourbon said.

After overcoming obstacle after obstacle so far this season, sugar makers, like Browns River Maple, are more than ready for visitors.

“By all means, come on up. We’ll teach you a little something about sugaring, give you the 10 cent tour,” Bourbon said.

Vermont Sugar Makers’ Association encourages people to check their website to stay up to date on which sugar houses will be open on Saturday or on the last Saturday of March.

They have a map that will show you the closest participating sugar houses near you.