1993 Memories and Questions Answered

          1993 MEMORIES 

We are always trying to remember the first year the NH Maple Producers sponsored NH Maple Weekend. Larry and I can remember the kids ages and being in the old sugarhouse and we usually figure it was sometime in the early 1990’s. I was on another assignment last week doing some research at the NH State Library and looking at old editions of the Manchester Union Leader. My research topic was turning into a dead-end with no new information discovered so I switched gears. Larry told me he remembered his photo was on the front page of the Union Leader the first time NH hosted a Maple Weekend. Of course, in the early years, the event was just one day and it was called NH Maple Sunday. Back then, it was always the fourth weekend in March so with that information I Googled the dates for the last weekend in March for both 1993 and 1995. We had earlier decided the first year was one of those years.

Imagine my delight when I discovered Larry’s photo there on the front page of the Friday; March 26, 1993 edition of the Union Leader. The photographer caught him scooping sap and surrounded by stacks of wood cut in four-foot lengths. The caption informs readers that 41 sugarhouses participated that year.

We had no idea what kind of crowds might turn out that first year, but we rounded up nephews and nieces, sisters-in-law, mothers-in-law, and Larry’s brother to take part in the event. There were plenty of tasks to go around. My nephew Chris handed out samples. Larry and his brother Karl managed the evaporator, filtered syrup, and kept the arch loaded with wood. My mother-in-law and I made and packaged maple sugar candy, maple cream, and handled sales. Others were on hand to answer questions and more.

At some point, the NH Maple Producers Association decided to make the event span the entire fourth weekend in March. The next year, according to newspaper reports a total of 52 sugarhouses participated. Now 31 years, later over 100 sugarhouses all over the state welcome visitors during New Hampshire’s maple season. 

I was pleased that my research efforts allowed us to pinpoint the first year we participated. When we examined the newspaper photo and clippings from 31 years ago, we each had different takeaways. For me, I think it is interesting that an event that first started with 41 participants has now grown to over 100. Larry is amazed at how much wood was still stacked around the evaporator. He concluded it must have been a late season that year to still have so much wood still in the sugarhouse. A corresponding article describes the maple operation Larry and Karl managed in 1993. The brother duo hung buckets and strung tubing. They gathered sap from considerably less taps than we do now. In 2024, we are thankful we still welcome spring by gathering sap and boiling it down to a delicious natural treat. To farm families, maple syrup is the new growing season’s first crop. What a great way to kick off the new crop season. It's also very lovely to share maple with with our kind visitors. Your support is very much appreciated. Happy Spring!