A sweet adventure at Blue Slope
Craig Staebner, owner and operator of Blue Slope Country Museum in Franklin, holds a maple syrup harvesting event every year open to the public.
This year, the outdoor event is being held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7.
Visitors will get to see almost every aspect of the syruping processes, from identifying the right type of tree all the way to eating delicious maple syrup.
The maple syrup processing was Craig’s father’s big project. Craig learned how to do it last year as he took over the reins of the operation.
Staebner loves the whole process but admittedly says his favorite part is getting to eat the delicious maple syrup.
There’s a whole process to get that sweet syrup on your pancakes, and there’s so much interesting science that can be learned at the event.
“Well, first you have to identify the right kind of tree. You need to use a certain type of maple, because you can get sap from other trees,” Staebner said.
Maple syrup harvesting is a process started by Native Americans and has been mechanized over the centuries. You used to have to gather syrup with pails, but now everything is linked with plastic lines to a central gathering point for all the syrup.
In fact, Blue Slope has a lot of neat technology for all the syrup they’re producing. They have high-tech arches for reverse osmosis, which takes some of the water out so it cuts down on the amount of boiling time.
The event will take visitors through all the steps of the process. There will be tree identification. There will be buckets out, to show the old ways of processing the syrup and other outdated techniques such as a team of farm animals pulling the wagon with the buckets of syrup to an old holding tank.
Visitors can see the central gathering point and where the syrup is processed and distilled.
Due to weather and some COVID restrictions, Staebner does hope to actually drill a tree with the group, but there are a lot of temperature variables that go along with that. The trees have to be cold at night and then warm in the day for ideal conditions.
Staebner added that they get lucky every year. They want to show as much of the process as possible all while being completely COVID compliant.
The weekend sounds picturesque, getting to be out in nature, seeing the various greens of the land, the smells of mother nature, feeling the crisp air against your face, and then all in the end indulging in marvelous maple syrup.
This event is free and open to the public and they are accepting donations. For more information and other events they have open to the public check out their website at blueslope.com
Blue Slope describes itself on its website as a country museum, trucking company, farm and garden commodity center, all while having specialty events open to the public. Blue Slope started in 1940 when Staebner’s father moved there with his parents to run a successful dairy farm.
Staebner’s grandfather had also collected antique tools when they had lived in Vermont and had amassed a vast collection. Upon his passing, they wanted to keep all the antiques in the family but also show off the amazing collection, thus they started Blue Slope Country Museum.
The museum has an array of tools that span centuries and they even offer education programs at the museum, although due to COVID restrictions, the museum portion is not currently open.
They also plan to bring back some of their more popular events when COVID restrictions are lessened, such as square dancing and campfires.
Brian Barganier lives in Salem.
Maple Syrup Open House
Maple Syrup Open House
Where: Blue Slope Farm, 138 Blue Hill Rd, North Franklin
When: 1-4 p.m. Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, March 7th
Phone: (860) 642-7084
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