Sugar Solution: The maple-sugaring process at Coggeshall Farm
It takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.
Visitors can learn all about the maple-sugaring process at Coggeshall Farm in Bristol, where caretakers will tap up to forty sugar maple and Norway trees sprawled out on the property. The farm welcomes guests to learn about the practice from costumed historians during Maple Sugaring Weekend. The sweet substance ties into East Bay history. “Maple sugar has obvious connections to historic food, but it also enables us to talk about the environment, land usage, trade and early abolitionist movements,” says Eleanor Langham, site director of the Coggeshall Farm Museum. She explains that maple sugar can be used in place of cane sugar in any recipe. Abolitionist and founding father Benjamin Rush hoped to produce maple sugar as an alternative to cane sugar, which was farmed and processed into molasses by enslaved people who were trafficked from Africa to the Caribbean. Bristol’s rum distilleries turned the molasses into rum, connecting the town to the Triangle Trade. “His idea did not succeed for many reasons, including notable deforestation in New England at the time,” Langham says. “Therefore, here on the coast, we were far more likely to have sugarcane or molasses in our kitchens.” 1 Colt Dr., Bristol, 253-9062, coggeshallfarm.org