Sugaring is a central part of life in Vermont. Anthropologist Marge Bruchac tells us that the Abenaki people, the indigenous group native to Vermont, called the fourth new moon of the year the “maple sugar-making moon.” The Abenaki were the first people in the place we now call Vermont to boil down sap and make syrup, and they taught European settlers this practice--one unique to North America.
Today in Vermont sugaring is an important economic activity and a seasonal milestone that marks the transition from winter to spring--not to mention it’s how we create our best known, homegrown, sweet treat. Along with syrup, candy and other maple products, the seasonal pastime of visiting the sugar house is often evoked as a classic ‘Vermont’ activity for tourists and locals alike. It’s no surprise then that there are songs about sugaring or even that the Vermont Folklife Center might make reference to the activity in the name of its own podcast, VT Untapped™! In our case we’re not tapping trees, but our archive, which contains thousands of interviews with Vermonters talking about their everyday lives and experiences. This episode brings you a seasonal selection of audio excerpts from our collection that reflect the sugaring tradition and its prominence in Vermont life across generations.
VT Untapped™ is produced by the Vermont Folklife Center. Visit www.vtfolklife.org/untapped to learn more.