The 2012 Highland Maple Festival will be held March 10 and 11 and March 17 and 18 (Photo by Pam Wiley, Virginia Farm Bureau).
Several years ago I spent a March Saturday photographing the Highland Maple Festival in
. It was a feast for the senses. Highland County
At one of the sugar camps, people stood in the doorway of an outbuilding, sighing contentedly as they inhaled maple-scented steam from an old wood-fired syrup condenser. Others checked out the buckets hung under spouts in maple trees. More than one looked around, to make sure they weren’t going to get in trouble, before catching a drop of sugar water on one finger and tasting it.
It takes about 40 quarts of that to make one quart of maple syrup; when it comes out of the tree it tastes pretty much like water.
There were plenty of substantive things to eat, though—fresh maple doughnuts, pancakes all day long, maple candies, maple-glazed chicken and jugs of
maple syrup in sizes to suit any sweet tooth. Highland County
This year’s Highland Maple Festival will be held March 10 and 11 and March 17 and 18, and festival details are available on the Highland County Chamber of Commerce website.
In case you want to prime your sweet tooth, here’s a maple chicken recipe from the Michigan Maple Syrup Association. I’m sure it works nicely with
syrup as well, and the author notes it’s particularly good with rice. Virginia
Maple Spring Chicken
2½- to 3-pound chicken, cut up
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup maple syrup
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
¼ cup chopped almonds
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325°. Place chicken pieces in a shallow, buttered baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients, and pour evenly over chicken. Bake uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, basting occasionally.
Sugar water from maple trees, which is cooked into syrup, is about 98 percent water and 2 percent sugar. It takes about 40 quarts to make a quart of maple syrup (Photo by Pam Wiley, Virginia Farm Bureau).