March Around Hardwick

Walk where we tap trees, pick up maple syrup, and enjoy the outdoors.

Since you’ve been inside staying safe from COVID and the winter weather, it’s easy to come down with house-atosis. Yes, I made that name up. But it feels real.  And the cure is simple: get out of the house and into fresh air. March is usually when people come to the Hardwick Sugar Shack for sugaring season. Since COVID is still a thing, we’re switching it up. Instead of our usual open house for maple syrup season, we’re inviting you to March Across Hardwick. 

Grab your boots and come to Hardwick. Start at the Hardwick Sugar Shack and pick up your maple syrup at the open-air, pop-up shop at 572 Jackson Road in Hardwick Massachusetts. Although we won’t have the sugarhouse open for inside tours, enjoy the property and take a walk in the back trail. We will be here from 11-4 on Sunday, March 14, 21, and 28, 2021. Please note, when visiting the farm, face masks are required, following COVID-19 protocols.

Then head on over to see where else in town we tap trees. Start with the East Quabbin Land Trust at Mandell Hill. This is an amazing spot with a view of Mt. Wachusett and a bird watching landing that’s great for a picnic. See if you can spot the lines of tubing connecting the maple trees together when you first start out in the parking lot. 

When you arrive at Mandell Hill, use this map to follow a lovely trail that meanders through the meadow and into the woods. It’s a circular path which will lead you right back where you started. This is a walk Joe and I take at least once a week. And it’s one of our favorite spots in town for sunrises and sunsets.

Sunset near Mandell Hill in Hardwick.

Next, head on down to Moose Brook Preserve, also part of the East Quabbin Land Trust. There’s a place to park right off of Brook road where the trail starts. Here’s the map.

A couple of things to know before venturing forth at Moose Brook. First, Brook Road is small, dirt road that’s a little rough around the edges at times. Second, the hike goes up a steep hill. So, be prepared. If you’re looking for an easier jaunt, park at the intersection of Taylor Hill Road and Brook Road. You’ll actually see our sugaring lines here, weaving through the woods and running over Moose Brook. Right across the street from our lines, you’ll see a yellow metal gate. This is the start of an easy walk with a nice reward when you finish. At the end of the trail, you’ll notice a small hill. This is the tailings from when they drilled the Quabbin Reservoir aqueduct. When you make it to the top of that pile, you’re rewarded with a great view of the pond. 

Our maple lines and vacuum pump at Moose Brook.

I’m a fan of the Land Trust here in town. Not only does it help with maple production and preserve the land, it gives us so much joy to walk the many paths. While you’re in town, check out all the Land Trust walks here.

Please note that although we will have a pop-up shop from 11-4 on Sunday, March 14, 21, and 28th, we do not normally have a retail store. If you need some syrup, you can order online, or pick it up locally at Mimi’s Coffee House, Petersham Country Store, Country Gourmet, Hardwick Farmer’s Coop, or Rose32 Bread. At Mimi’s, Rose32, and Petersham’s Country Store you can also grab lunch.

Use this handy-dandy map to help navigate your day.

The March Across Hardwick is a sure cure for house-atosis, which we are all suffering from at present. Enjoy your day welcoming in the Spring!

Virus Impacts Open House

Well, these are weird days. This Saturday and Sunday was supposed to be Massachusetts Maple weekend, which of course has been cancelled (like everything else) due to coronavirus. Joe and I discussed our plans for our scheduled open house tomorrow. We decided to cancel, doing our small part to minimize contact. We will be here boiling, nonetheless, as Mother Nature does her thing. It’s time to make the syrup, no matter what else is shifting and changing in the world! Remember, you can always order online. Stay safe and healthy. We’ll see you next year.

2011 MA maple syrup crop

Enjoy the Sun

With daylight savings today, there will be lots of sun to soak up. Join us today with this lovely sunny weather. We have lots of sap to boil, and Joe just bottled syrup for the open house. The quarts are still warm!! Open from 11-4. Visit the Hardwick Vineyard & Winery, Hardwick Farmers Co-Op, Mimi’s Coffeehouse of Hardwick, Rose 32 Bread, Hartman’s Herb Farm, The Country Store in Petersham, The Country Gourmet, while your in town.

img_1825

2020 Open House

The open house season at the Hardwick Sugar Shack starts tomorrow. We began boiling much earlier this season than any other year (3 times in January!) and have continued the pace. Of course we are hoping that the cold to warm weather fluctuations continue. It’s that oscillation between freezing and thawing that makes the sap flow. Isn’t that interesting? I think that’s a good metaphor for how to live…quiet and still counterbalanced with warm and flow.

We’re open every Sunday in March from 11-4. Come visit our sugar house, and see how syrup is made. Best of all, give it a taste. All of our syrup is this year’s harvest. We sell out every year, so come and enjoy while the season is ready (another good metaphor for life: enjoy what’s here now).

IMG_4313

 

January Ice Storm

The New Year started with a sparkle, with a January 1 storm creating a gorgeous ice display. Joe and I were concerned at first that we may have lost some sugar maples with the weight of the ice. A few years back we had a nasty ice storm that decimated the forest. So much clean up! This year, though, no need for Joe to start the chain saw. Just incredible beauty for our morning walk.

IMG_4359

 

It’s over for another year

It’s official, the 2019 maple season is over for us! Joe has been working out in the woods pulling taps. It was a less-than-average year for production. That’s how it goes…it’s all up to Mother Nature! Thanks to all of you who stopped by, shared our Facebook page, and otherwise connected in community! The season may be over, but here’s to enjoying the sweet taste of our labor all year long!!

Reverse Osmosis

As I write this, Joe is down at the Sugar Shack running the sap through the reverse osmosis machine. That process takes the sugar content from about 2% to 12%, making it much more efficient to boil. While he’s doing that, all the dogs want to do is play! Come by to enjoy the sun and a taste of the sweet stuff. We’re open from 11-4 today.