Not long after Europeans began settling in the Northeast, local indigenous peoples showed colonists how to tap certain types of trees in the spring to collect the sap. Though methods of collection and evaporation have evolved, the resulting sweet harvest is savored today just as it was then.
Newcastle resident Justin Wood started out tapping five trees as a college student years ago. This hobby has grown into a full-fledged family-run business tapping over 1,100 trees. Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust is hosting a tour of his SweetWoods Farm maple syrup operation from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 1.
Participants will tour the sugar shack to learn about the sugaring process and see the evaporator in action. Those who are able may join Wood to walk the tap lines.
Wood will offer samples of fresh maple syrup, share several interesting ways maple syrup can be used, and answer questions in this up-close-and-personal tour.
This event is free and all ages are welcome. Due to space limitations, registration is required and may be done online at www.coastalrivers.org/events
Wood is passionate about syruping and eager to share what he has learned over the years. He will talk about different methods of sap collection, using a reverse osmosis system to remove water, evaporation and filtering.
SweetWoods Farm is a sideline business for Wood, who is a full-time employee at E.M. Wood in Boothbay. In addition to producing maple syrup for sale, Wood and his wife grow a large vegetable garden, keep a small flock of chickens, and raise a few beef cows each year to provide food for their family of four.