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Londonderry

March 27, 2014

Sugaring season off to slow start

Sugaring season off to slow start

LONDONDERRY — It hasn’t been the best season for local maple producers.

The weather has been inconsistent, according to Hank Peterson, longtime maple syrup producer and owner of Peterson’s Sugarhouse on Peabody Row.

“We keep trying,” Peterson said Sunday during an open house to celebrate the state’s annual Maple Weekend.

But a slow start to sugaring didn’t keep the crowds away.

Peterson said he was flooded with families all weekend wanting to see his maple sugar operation in action.

He and some volunteers welcomed visitors to the steamy sugarhouse and showed them how sap becomes syrup.

The season started slowly. Peterson said he doesn’t start boiling sap to make syrup until he has at least 400 gallons. A typical maple season is just four to six weeks, usually ending in early April.

It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce a single gallon of syrup. Peterson usually makes about 125 gallons of syrup a year. He sells it for $55 a gallon.

A perfect season would be warmer days and cooler nights, but this winter has offered a little bit of everything and not much consistency.

A typical scenario for perfect sap flow would be 20-degree nights and 40-degree days, according to Peterson volunteer Drew MacCulloch.

“This year has not been good,” he said.

He offered sap samples straight from the tree during Peterson’s open house Sunday. Inside the building, families enjoyed fresh syrup poured on ice cream as they took the official tour.

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