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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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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  »

February 2020 Newsletter

Welcome, February!

February has been a busy month around here! Sugaring season is starting earlier and earlier due to climate change, so we have to adjust our schedules to catch sap when it’s flowing. Matt stopped his restaurant renovation and came back to the farm. He’s been clearing lines that come down due to weather or animals. It’s also a great time to start cutting wood for next year’s sugaring.  A friend is coming to help tap tomorrow and we’ll be boiling as soon as there’s enough sap!

 » Read more about: February 2020 Newsletter  »

January 2020 NewsLetter

Welcome, January!

Happy new year! We had a busy end to 2019 and rang in 2020 with my mom, sister and her kids who were visiting from Hawaii. They love Vermont and their energy for outdoor play and exploration is contagious. We built a bonfire, hiked, sledded and explored the sugarbush. They were enamored by the birds and woodland creatures, and talked endlessly about environmental concerns and how to take care of the planet.

 » Read more about: January 2020 NewsLetter  »
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