Area residents are invited to learn about the history of maple syrup during Maple Syrup Community Day, happening this Saturday, March 13, at the Wittenbach Wege Center in Lowell and Dairy Discovery in Alto.
At the Wittenbach Wege Center, located across from Lowell High School on Vergennes Street, staff from the Lowell Area Historical Museum and naturalists from center will be on-hand to explain how maple sap has traditionally been harvested and transformed into syrup. Visitors can start by learning about Native American sugar bush activities, including legends, traditions and games. Then, walk to the cabin farther along the trail to see a pioneer sugar bush and try a maple snow cone. Back at the center, there will also be a chance to see a modern day tapping display and make a maple tree cookie necklace.
Meanwhile, at the nonprofit Dairy Discovery at Swisslane Farms in Alto, people can see a modern day sugar shack in progress. At the farm, the Oesch/Wingeier families have been making maple syrup for more than 100 years. After six generations, the families maintain a deep respect for the traditional ways of making syrup while also incorporating new technologies. The maple syrup season is short, and Maple Syrup Community Day is a one-day only chance to see the modern operation in action.
Activities at the Wittenbach Wege Center will run from 10am-2pm with trail tours expected to wrap up by 1pm. Dairy Discovery tours run from 11am-3pm and include a trip into the woods to see a working sugar shack, sap lines and modern processing equipment.
The Wittenbach Wege Center has a fee of $2 per person or $10 per family for its activities. A visit to Swisslane Farms can be added for $3 per person. For those who would prefer to see the Swisslane sugar shack only, the cost is $5 per person.