Volunteers Needed for the Maple Celebration. Are You Ready for Pancakes?

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Pancake Breakfast includes many activities. The tree tapping demo is usually done by the apprentices, but volunteers are needed to help as well!

At the start of every year Merck Forest begins to transform. MFFC transforms from a working farm to working sugarbush. While many are shut away indoors bundled in sweaters, huddled around the woodstove, the MFFC Farm Staff is braving the cold windy Merck days others know all too well. They are out in the thick of it, clearing lines, tapping trees, and working hard to make sure the sap is ready to flow. This process begins in January and continues through February. Once the sap starts running, the transition from sugarbush to sap house happens, and the real work starts.

Putting the taps into the sugar maples takes hours and hours of time. MFFC taps 3,000 trees, and all of the tapping has to be done manually.
Putting the taps into the sugar maples takes hours and hours of time. MFFC taps 3,000 trees, and all of the tapping has to be done manually.

During the month of March, the farm staff works diligently in the Frank Hatch Sap House. Boiling becomes an around the clock affair, all in the pursuit of that sticky, sweet, absolutely delicious maple syrup. Up here on the mountain, that’s something we like to celebrate!

Stoking the arch and maintaining a consistent temperature for the boiling pan is a critical part of turning sap into maple syrup. Staff works long, late hours in the sugar house once the sap begins running.
Stoking the arch and maintaining a consistent temperature for the boiling pan is a critical part of turning sap into maple syrup. Staff works long, late hours in the sugar house once the sap begins running.

Every year Merck participates in the Bennington County Sugarmakers’ Maple Open House Weekend. It’s a lovely weekend composed of sugarmakers all over Bennington County sharing their beloved trade. Boiling, tasting, and tours are just a few of the activities happening around the area. At Merck we take great pride in our organic maple syrup. As such, we enjoy celebrating this grand weekend by way of a pancake breakfast!

Putting on The Merck Forest Maple Celebration is no easy task. We’ve done it every year for the better part of a decade. People just love it! Spring fever hits and the sap house fills with people both Saturday and Sunday.

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Nearly 500 people come the pancake breakfast every year, sometimes more, sometimes less, but it is always a busy two days.

 

This event takes time, organization, and lots of extra hands. As with any event we put on here at MFFC, staff time is precious, but volunteer time is invaluable. Having volunteers help us to execute pancake flipping, sausage sizzling, beverage dispensing, table cleaning, and many other great activities makes the weekend run much, much more easily.

If you would be interested in volunteering for the Maple Celebration and Pancake Breakfast, Saturday, March 22 & and Sunday, March 23, 2014 we want to hear from you! For more information on volunteering and other ways to lend a hand for the Maple Celebration, or any time, please contact Amy by phone: 802-394-7836 or by email: info@merckforest.org

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Written by Amy Malsbenden