NH Maple Weekend: Sugar Bee Farm shares its sweets
CLAREMONT — For the last four years, A-J and Melissa Maranville, owners of Sugar Bee Farm, have participated in the annual NH Maple Weekend with an open house where they shared samples of maple products and the process they use to make the amber goodness that so many love.
Melissa, who makes all the maple products, spends two days before the open house making everything — maple butter, lollipops, maple banana bread, maple flavored popcorn, maple bacon brittle and granulated maple sugar — all of which are available year-round and can be ordered through the farm's Facebook page.
A-J has been making maple syrup for 20 years, though only selling it for the last 10 years. They use maple trees on the Sugar Bee Farm property as well as across the street and at friends’ houses, tapping into approximately 800 trees with about 90 percent of them collecting through tubing and the rest in buckets, according to A-J.
When they started, they were boiling the sap on the stove then pouring the syrup into cheesecloth and special filters, according to Maranville’s father, A-J Maranville, II. Now they use a larger wood stove that allows them to process much more maple syrup and a 275-gallon tank that holds the sap, which is stored on the second floor.
Maranville and his friends, many who were on hand at the open house to help with the syrup making, collect the sap after work. The best days to collect are when the night before was below freezing and the day is warm, according to Maranville’s father.
The unseasonably warm weather this winter made the sap run early this year.
“It started running in January. We weren’t ready for that run,” said Melissa.
Last year, they started boiling the sap on the first day of spring, this year they started two weeks ago. The warm weather will cause the season to be cut short as the trees have already started to bud.
“Once they start to bud, the season is done,” said Maranville’s father. “The syrup comes out yellow and it’s no good. We just have to dump it out.”
In the spring, they’ll be making honey from hives on the farm.
Sugar Bee Farm can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SugarBeeFarmSyrupAndHoney