Highland County Maple Festival: “I’d Tap That!”

Guest post by Buzzy! Thanks, Buzzy! Where’s my maple donut??


Buzzy and Mr. Buzzy were finally able to realize a life-long dream:  attending the annual Highland County Maple Festival just an hour and a half away!  So many activities and events! I won’t go into the magic of the entertainment

Greene County Cloggers

Or the impressive junk food options

Funnel cakes and fried oreos

Or even the wonder of the Maple Queen and her Syrup princesses (we missed the crowning at the Maple Ball)…

Maple Queen and Syrup Princesses

Instead, we’ll focus on the fascinating process of getting sugar water from trees to something worthy of crowning your pancakes.

It starts with a sugar maple tree.  In Virginia they mainly grow above altitudes of 3,000 ft..  Some of the trees still in use for tapping are 200+ years old!

Tapped tree

With a good cycle of freezing and thawing, pressure grows in the tree to seal up the hole that the tap (called a spile) has made.  During the thaw, the sugar water comes out of the hole, too quickly for the tree to heal itself.  Don’t worry:  no trees are permanently injured in the making of maple syrup!

Spiles

The sugar water that gets collected varies in sugar content each year.  For 2015 it takes only 32 gallons of sugar water that you boil down to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup.  In other years it’s been much higher, and you can actually make syrup from lower altitude maples, but you’d need double the sugar water.

Heating the sugar water

Once you have maple syrup, then the options to celebrate are limitless.  We highly recommend the maple donuts.  Buzzy ate four!!

Maple donut

For you energy-conscious readers who are thinking:  wow, this is a ridiculously energy intensive process — you’re right!  Buzzy recommends you get your sugar from honey, where the bees do all the work evaporating nectar into honey.  Carbon footprint = 0.

This post brought to you by McBene Hill Honey.

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3 thoughts on “Highland County Maple Festival: “I’d Tap That!”

  1. Your sweet write-up brought back memories, from my youth, of tapping the maple trees around my home, collecting the sap, and boiling it down over a wood fire at my grandparents place.

  2. this was our third year traveling there and totally enjoy it always. Wish I had taken a picture of the donuts before we woofed them down.
    Most beautiful scenery ever and great people.
    betsy

    • Glad you enjoyed the festival, Betsy! I’m wishing I had a maple donut to go with my coffee this morning…

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