It's the middle of winter here in Maine. Sometimes Maine winters can be brutal. This year, not so much. (Though it's probably a bit early for me to say that...) In December and most of January we had a cold/warm cycle that kept the woods pretty bare. Just before Christmas we had a huge snowstorm--30" of snow. But warm days and rain melted nearly all of it in a week or so. It was very strange. The shallow snow pack in the sugar bush made it ideal to work in. We tried to get as many pre-season tasks done out there as we could, knowing that the snow would be pretty sure to come. It's a lot harder to do what needs to be done out there with feet of snow on the ground.
A few recent storms have left us with a foot and a half or so of snow in the sugar bush. More is in the forecast, which is fine with us. On the whole, snow is considered good for maple syrup production. It helps to insulate the ground and keep it from freezing too deep, and it helps to regulate the temperature in the woods once we start getting those warm days. There have been years though when a very deep snow pack has worked against us keeping the trees from thawing for so long that we had a very short season with a very small crop. That is one of the "exciting" things about maple--you simply do not know what the season is going to be like until it's over. Keeps life interesting. One thing we do know is that the sap WILL run at some point. Early or late, a trickle or a flood, a short season or a long one...it will come. And we are getting excited!
A shout out to all of you locals to come and see us on Maine Maple Weekend! The fourth Sunday of March every year in Maine is all about maple. This year that is the weekend of the 25th and 26th. We will be open to the public to share our love of all things maple. We'll be here to answer your questions, show you just how maple syrup is made, and feed you all kinds of sweet treats. It's always a fun weekend for us and we are thrilled to be part of it. I'll post the hours as it gets closer, but mark it on your calendar. It's going to be a "sweet" weekend here at Schanz Family Maple.
And now that delicious twist on French toast I mentioned in the blog title. Two Maine things that go together perfectly are maple syrup and blueberries. We get lots of blueberries in the summer, and one of our favorite ways to eat them is on yogurt with maple syrup drizzled on top. This combination is absolutely decadent when paired with French toast. Spread a layer of yogurt on your French toast (Stonyfield Organic Plain Whole Milk yogurt is our very favorite), sprinkle lots of blueberries on top, and drizzle maple syrup over it all. This is so good. And so simple! (And so good for you. Real food loaded with good things!)
Take care, everyone!