Better Farm Goes Sugaring

Mix spring weather in with sweet maple syrup, good company, and some outdoor activity, and you've got yourself one bunch of very happy Better Farmers.

Our neighbor, Dale Felder, has a beautiful sugar bush down the road which he maintains for the simple joy of creating his own syrup. Each year he gives away dozens of jugs of the stuff to his family and friends. Amazing, no? This is peak season; so when we heard Dale was busy sugaring out at his family's property down Burns Road, we jumped at the opportunity to lend a hand (and sample some delicious syrup, obviously). 

Four of us paid a visit to Dale's sugar shack, where he and Craig were up to their eyeballs in sap. Dale explained the process of tapping trees (both with buckets and tubing), separating the sap from water, filtering, and bottling. We got a tour of the facilities and the sugar bush. Because we're at peak season out here, you could hear the sap rushing through the tubes and dropping into buckets like an open faucet. Then Dale sent us out into the woods and put us to work!

Special thanks to Chris Menne, Corinne Weiner, and Butch Mockler for helping out with the sugaring process.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.