Category: Blog

Spring 2022 Newsletter

Welcome Springtime!

Sugaring season in the northeast ended in mid-April.  The taps have been pulled and our sugar maples are now in the phase of growing leaves which will begin the process of making next year’s sugar through photosynthesis.  We are also continuing the cycle of preparation for next year’s season. Right now the most pressing job is to cut, split and dry wood to be used in our wood fired evaporator. Read on for more news from the farm  and delicious, maple inspired recipes!

Sugarers were concerned when March started off with 60 degree temperatures, but the season quickly looked up as freezing nights returned. 

Maple sap starts at 1% or 2 % sugar and the rest is water and various nutrients. Maple syrup is 67% sugar. The nutrients remain and a lot of water is evaporated. We boil over a wood fire for the best caramelized flavor. Matt is always a fast moving blur during sugaring!

After several hours…maple syrup is poured off!

The finished product is hot packed into our new custom glass.

All our firewood is sustainably harvested. Most comes from trees downed in windstorms. Being on a mountain means lots of wind damage!

Finally we are seeing spring flowers! Check out this fun guide to Vermont’s Spring Flowers.

The songbirds are back! Our sugarbush is certified as Bird Friendly through the Audubon Bird Friendly Maple Project. Every spring we are amazed at the number of birds who make their home on our hillside until late summer. Learn how to Bird By Ear in this fun article by Gwendoyln Causer.

King of the sugarbush! On April 1, we celebrated two years with our our little pandemic sugar dog, Archie. As a stray from Texas it’s taken a couple of years for Archie to feel comfortable in the woods and with Vermont weather. He has come around though, and spent lots of time helping with sugaring this spring.

Finally we’re getting some heat in Vermont! As a full-time teacher I spend most of the day inside. As soon as I get home, Archie and I head out to the sugarbush to look for Matt, check on the songbirds or just enjoy the beauty of quiet nature.

Sweet Treats for Spring

Maple Sugar Bars

These delicious bars are reminiscent of pecan pie, yet the maple and walnut create a much more robust flavor. Serve once they have cooled, maybe with a dollop of whipped cream to create a special dessert.

Ingredients

Base

Topping

Instructions

Base

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine butter, maple sugar and flour and stir until the mixture is crumbly. Press mixture into an 8 inch greased baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Topping

  1. In a saucepan, combine the maple syrup, maple sugar and walnuts and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and stir until melted.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the flour and salt. Add egg mixture to maple syrup mixture and stir to combine. Pour over the base and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until set. Cool completely before cutting.

Extra Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

These pancakes are extra fluffy due to a shot of seltzer. See how it stacks up against your favorite pancake recipe!

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons Couching Lion Maple Sugar

1¼ teaspoons baking powder

1¼ teaspoons baking soda

1¼ teaspoons kosher salt

2 large eggs

1¾ cups buttermilk

½ cup cold seltzer water or club soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more

Pure Vermont Couching Lion Maple Syrup (for serving)

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and wet ingredients in a second small bowl. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir. The batter will be slightly lumpy and should not be over stirred.

Heat a greased griddle or frying pan. Scoop out batter in 1/4 cups, leaving plenty of space for the pancake to expand. Look for bubbles to form and then flip.

We always heat the maple syrup for pancakes! Add about 2 tablespoons per serving to a small pan. Heat slowly and watch carefully. Maple syrup boils over quickly!

Serve immediately and enjoy the rest of the morning (or evening if you’re having pancakes for dinner….an actual real thing we do in Vermont)!

Enjoy springtime wherever you are! We look forward to sharing this season’s maple syrup with you. Click the green links or the button below to shop for your own springtime sweet maple syrup!                       

 XO From Huntington,

Chaska, Matt and Archie

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Summer Newsletter 2021

Summer Newsletter 2021

It’s still…… Summer!

It’s been a very productive summer, here in Huntington, Vermont. While sugaring season lasts a few short weeks each year, the preparation happens throughout the summer and fall. Read on for news from the sugar farm and for some great maple recipes!

Firewood is on the agenda for the months following sugar season. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, so that’s a lot of evaporation. Our maple syrup is cooked over a wood fired arch and we generally need about 12 cords of wood per season. 

All of our firewood comes from downed trees, or from trees that are shading trails and inhibiting undergrowth. We follow a forestry plan and the guidelines from Audubon’s Bird Friendly Maple Project to ensure we’re harvesting trees sustainably.

Trail mowing and line repairs are part of the sugarbush upkeep. We’re fortunate to have a trail network throughout our sugarbush that allows for access to the sugar lines. The trails have to be mowed each summer to keep the forest from taking over!

Summer is also the time to prepare for fall and winter mail orders! We’re excited about our new glass jugs with our updated logo. We hear from customers that these jugs are great as repurposed water bottles and vases!

The Maple Kiosk has had lots of visitors this summer! Stocked with maple syrup in all shapes and sizes, the kiosk sits in a picturesque field with mowed paths and mountain views. If you live in the area, let us know you’re coming and we’ll leave you a map for a sugarbush walk! You’ll find the kiosk at 50 Aestivalis Hill, Huntington, VT.

Animals in the Sugarbush!

Our sugarbush is home to lots of animals. While we see deer and all kinds of birds, the game cameras help catch the more stealthy residents. A healthy sugarbush means healthy animals!

Maple Recipes

Blueberry bushes in Vermont are laden with fruit this time of year. Try this Maple Sugar Blueberry Sauce and Blueberry Gin Fizz for a great way to use this antioxidant rich fruit!

Maple Sugar Blueberry Pie takes your regular recipe to the next level! Serve with vanilla ice cream and you will help ease all end of summer woes. Click on the picture for the recipe.

It’s also peach season in Vermont. Maple Sugar Peach Cobbler is a delicious blend of peaches, maple sugar and crumbly biscuits. 

If you’re lucky enough to have lots of peaches, or you can buy a crate of fresh peaches, try canning them for a burst of summer flavor in the winter. Here’s our recipe for Peaches Canned in Maple Whiskey Syrup.

Lastly…..here are a few pictures from our neck of the woods.

Enjoy the last of summer!                

 XO From Huntington,

Chaska, Matt and Archie

Spring Newsletter 2021

Couching Lion Maple Sugar Farm

Welcome Springtime!

Sugaring 2021 is here! Sugarers all over the northeast are welcoming the season we prepare for all year long. The sugarhouse is ready, the wood has been stacked and drying for 10 months, the sugar lines are stretched from tree to tree and the taps are in! Everything that can be  prepared in advance is done, and the rest is up to Mother Nature. Sugarers rely on cold nights and warm days. The global warming trend has sugarers worried and this year has been no exception. March started out very cold and then a string of 60-70 degree days put an early end to the season for many. We are fortunate to have survived the warm week, in part due to our high altitude, a little luck and Matt’s ingenuity! We’re hoping to get in several more boils before the weather warms up for good. Read on for news from the farm, recipes and more.

This warm weather has been a topic of conversation in the sugaring community and around Vermont in general. After a long winter, most people are thrilled for a quick change in temperature. So why are sugarers still yearning for freezing nights and a slow thaw? The answer is in how pressure is created within the sugar maples during the freeze and thaw cycle. When the temperature falls below 32 degrees, water and nutrients are sucked up through the tree’s roots and combined with the stored starch (sugar) created through photosynthesis in the summer months. As the temperature rises above freezing during the day, the sap is released out through the tap holes. When the weather is consistently warm, this pressure isn’t created within the tree and the sap stops running. Sugar content in sap can vary, but on average it take 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. Luckily, the forecast has now shifted and Vermont will see a week of freezing nights ahead!

We’ve updated our logo!

Our original logo was created by our wonderful friend and colleague, Jesse Clarke. We loved the image of the Couching Lion with the sun and maple leaf rising above it. As we’ve gained traction as a Bird Friendly Sugarbush, we thought it might be good to add a migratory songbird, change up the font and make a few other slight tweaks. Local business, Gotham City Graphics helped us reimagine the new logo. 

We’re celebrating one year with our Sugar Dog!

Last year, on April 1, we did what so many Americans were doing during the pandemic: we adopted a little dog. Archie was a stray in Texas and there was little in his bio to suggest he actually wanted to live with humans. But…anyone who has ever had a dog knows the best one for you will come along, and he sure did. Archie has learned the joys of living indoors, sleeping in beds, playing with toys and eating whenever he wants. It turns out he’s also a great farm dog. He stays nearby, loves Gator rides, hangs out in the sugarbush and actually can’t get enough his humans.!

Pictures from Sugaring 2021

Sweet Treats for Spring

Maple Walnut Cake

The combination of maple and walnuts is an ultimate crowd pleaser. This cake is also delicious without the frosting. Bake it in a muffin tin or brownie pan for speedier and equally wonderful treat. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups Couching Lion Granulated Maple Sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • CANDIED WALNUTS:
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped California Walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon Couching Lion Maple Syrup
  • FROSTING:
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 tablespoons Couching Lion Maple Syrup, divided

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of 3 greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment; grease parchment.
  • Cream butter and maple sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition. Fold in walnuts.
  • Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 11-13 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.
  • For candied walnuts, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; saute walnuts until toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir in maple syrup; cook and stir 1 minute. Spread onto foil; cool completely.
  • For frosting, beat butter until creamy. Beat in 1 tablespoon maple syrup and salt. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and enough cream to reach desired consistency.
  • Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup frosting. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup candied walnuts and drizzle with 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Repeat layers.
  • Top with remaining layer. Frost top and sides of cake. Top with remaining walnuts and syrup.

Maple Overnight Oats

This breakfast treat can be made the night before and dressed up the following morning with fruit, yogurt and nuts. 

For 2 servings, combine 1 cup of old fashioned oats with 1 cup of your choice of milk. Stir in 4 tablespoons of maple syrup. Either divide into 2 containers, or store in the refrigerator in a single container. The oats will soften after 2 hours but they are best when left in the refrigerator overnight. 

This is the basic recipe. You could also add for each serving: 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon flax seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds. Find what you like best! No matter what you add, your breakfast will have a base of healthy carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Enjoy springtime wherever you are! While we love cold nights, we too are looking forward to warm days and being outside. Until then, we’ll be boiling and bottling some delicious 2021 maple syrup.   Click the green links or the button below to shop for your own springtime sweet maple syrup!                       

 XO From Huntington,

Chaska, Matt and Archie

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SHOP OUR MAPLE PRODUCTS!   Couching Lion Sugar Farm
Huntington, VT
(802) 434-5232
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January 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to January! It’s time to prepare the sugarbush!

It seems like yesterday, and yet also a long time ago, that the nation went into lockdown. Last March we were isolated on our hill in Huntington, Vermont, with only one task: boil the thousands of gallons of maple sap into maple syrup, one stick of firewood at a time. I have never been able to participate in the daily flow of sugaring so when school closed,

 » Read more about: January 2021 Newsletter  »

October 2020 Newsletter

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

-L.M. Montgomery

Welcome to the sugar farm in Autumn!

Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote about the splendor of October in Anne of Green Gables. We think our sugar dog, Archie, may be experiencing his own Anne Shirley moment! Archie came to Couching Lion Maple Sugar Farm in April, as a stray from Texas . He took a few months to get used to a life where food readily appears,

 » Read more about: October 2020 Newsletter  »

August 2020 Newsletter

August Newsletter “Breathe the sweetness that hovers in August. “   Welcome to August!

I couldn’t agree with poet Denise Levertov more, there really is a sweetness that hovers in August. Vermont is so beautiful right now. The garden is overflowing with vegetables, our peach tree is drooping with fruit and the fields are bursting with wildflowers. I think the sweetness also comes from holding onto the days we have now as seasonal change is coming,

 » Read more about: August 2020 Newsletter  »

July 2020 Newsletter

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”    -Albert Camus  Welcome to July!

As summer rolls in and we mourn the loss of so many beloved traditions and activities due to the pandemic, we’re also faced with examining some uncomfortable truths about our country and ourselves. I like this quote from French philosopher, Albert Camus as it encourages one to ponder how we can improve in our lives and our actions,

 » Read more about: July 2020 Newsletter  »

June 2020 Newsletter

“No price is set on the lavish summer; June may be had by the poorest comer.  ”    

Dear friends, what a tumultuous spring we have had in the United States and worldwide. While the Covid-19 lockdown proved challenging for our hearts and minds, we have also been consumed with the clear and present racism in our country. Our president continues to stoke the flames of hate and has also now worked to limit rights for transgender Americans.

 » Read more about: June 2020 Newsletter  »

April 2020 Newsletter

April Showers…..

…..bring May flowers, as the saying goes. It happens to be true, but it’s also a nice phrase to cheer us up during these wet and chilly spring days. Up in Huntington we have late season snowfalls and the ground is slow to appear. Although I yearn for the early signs of spring, our northern elevation also means our sugaring season can last later into April. If the weather warms up too quickly,

 » Read more about: April 2020 Newsletter  »

March 2020 Newsletter

March! In like a lion…….

As the eighteenth century saying goes, “March, in like a lion, out like a lamb.” Most believe the saying refers to weather which is still quite wintry in the beginning, and possibly more mild by the end of March. This March has proved no different in terms of weather , but also in terms of the confluence of multiple serious illnesses and injuries in our family and the arrival of the coronavirus in Vermont.

 » Read more about: March 2020 Newsletter  »
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