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.
- 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
- 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
- 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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