March 07 - March 09
The Sweet Spot: Maple Sugaring at Rowe
Bill and Norma Coli
Learn the lore of local maple sugaring – a New England tradition celebrating do-it-yourself foodcraft, self-sufficiency, and working close to nature.
Celebrate winter’s end by tapping Rowe’s maple trees, visiting a real sugarhouse, and discovering how to make maple syrup, the sweetest of rural crafts. In this fun, mouth-watering weekend, you’ll also build a simple evaporator, boil maple sap concentrate, enjoy field trips to area farms, and even make delicious maple treats.You’ll learn the history of maple sugaring, information about which trees to use, tips on equipment such as taps and boilers and evaporators, and general principles of turning ordinary tree sap into something that can make pancakes taste miraculous. Field trips will include a jaunt to the sugarhouse and sugarlot at Blue Heron Farm. Best of all, you’ll take home a half-gallon of Bill's maple syrup, some scrumptious maple treats that you’ve made yourself, and a wealth of do-it-yourself knowledge that will help you see the maple trees in your neighborhood in a whole new light.
Bill Coli has a Ph.D. in Plant Science and has been a maple sugar maker for over 40 years, working with his wife Norma at their Blue Heron Farm in Charlemont, Mass., to produce annually 600-800 gallons of Certified Organic maple syrup, which is marketed to over 60 supermarkets, farm stands, and restaurants. He has served as director and later as president of the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association and also worked for over 30 years as an extension educator, researcher, and state program coordinator at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Norma Coli learned to make maple syrup and mastered other farming skills when she married Bill and they lived in southern Vermont. After moving to Charlemont they founded Blue Heron Farm in 1975. For many years she was the fulltime farmer while Bill worked at UMass, and during this period was perhaps the only fulltime female sugar-maker in Massachusetts.