Londonderry Syrup Drips in November

It Ain’t Over Till it’s Over

This line is one of many classic Yogi-isms from a legend in his own time, Yogi Berra. I make reference to him but with another ‘classic’ in mind – Hank Peterson. Stopping by the sugarhouse one late Sunday afternoon, we were surprised to see the building lit up. Upon entering, we saw the man himself, stove cranked up with a nice full vat of a certain type of bubbling brew.

Wait a minute – sap? Maple syrup? But it’s November. Hadn’t the previous sugaring season come and gone? “Most people think so,” Hank says with a chuckle. “I’ll be busy straight through the end of January.”

He was right in the middle of filling corporate orders of medium grade amber maple syrup headed for the mid-west as well as orders for the Chester Cooperative and Mack’s Apples Farm stand. We stayed awhile watching the hot pack preserve method in action as well as being treated to spoonfuls of hot “ice cream” – a classic Hank-ism!

FYI – The gray-tan colored jugs are the traditional look as many sugar houses, including Peterson’s, support another long-established business: The Bacon Jug Company, Littleton, NH.

An Important Sweet Meet and Greet

Several weeks prior to Sunday I saw Hank at the airport on his way to the Maple Sugar Convention in Frankenmuth, Michigan. This is an annual meeting of the two groups that represent the maple industry: the International Maple Syrup Institute and the North American Maple Syrup Council.

Hank Peterson shares his "ice cream" at his sugarhouse on Peabody Row.

The two groups recognize 16 states and provinces of the Unites States and Canada. One of the hot topics at the event concerned the need to update the maple grading laws. According to our local resident sugaring expert, Hank Peterson who is currently a board member for both the Institute and Council,  New Hampshire has very strict laws concerning the color and density of maple syrup. Michigan has no laws. Then there is Wisconsin, where “If it goes in a jug – it’s maple syrup.” Canada, on the other hand, has very different laws.

All in all the event attracted about 400 people who took advantage of the workshops. New sugaring makers were in attendance along with many who are established in the trade. Catching up on news with friends near and far made for an ‘old home day’ reunion of sorts.

Look for the ‘real deal’ and support local sugar houses like Peterson’s right here on Peabody Row, and in your travels throughout the maple belt in the U.S.A and Canada.

Debbie Curtin writes stories about people, places, events and other topics of interest that engage the reader. As a member of the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Debbie keeps ‘in the game’ with other like minded people. She has been an artist and creative person all her life and uses the unlimited sources of inspiration that abound everywhere in her writing as another art form.


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