Context: SF is a USC sophomore studying journalism and he’s also my classmate in Anthropology class. I decided to have a zoom meeting with him and talk about some folklore from vermont.
YM: Tell me some folklore
SF: Oh! Every year we have a food way
SF: So maple syrup is massive in vermont, right ? because we have a lot of maple trees and maple forest. It the second biggest producing region behind Canada quebec, just cause its bigger um but we have the highest density per capita
SF And uh there’s this big tradition called sugaring which is the process of tapping trees and getting maple syrup.. And you have to do it at the right time of year because it needs to be cold at night and then during the day.. so the sap can melt and flow down the lines
Sf: You have to collect a massive amount, maybe 60 gallons of sap for one gallon of syrup.. And then you just sit in this shareshack.. And you just sit there and boil it for a really long time
SF: Basically an excuse to hang out.. Kinda like ice fishing .. with some buddies or something like that
SF: There’s this thing some people do when they’re sugaring, called sugar on snow.. Um that is you boil the sap beyond syrup but not all the way to sugar… and then while it’s still boiling hot and pretty thick you take it outside and you pour it on fresh snow and you take a stick and you stir it in the snow and it basically turns to maple syrup taffy
SF: And it’s so amazing tasting because it’s just sugar.. It’s just a really fun thing to do when you’re a kid or when you’re hanging out in the cold
YM: That’s really cool!
SF: And you know we are legit because trader joes sells vermont maple syrup
YM: hahaha.. So you grew up doing this?
SF: haha yeah with buddies we would tap trees
Analysis: The making of maple syrup seems to be exclusive to Vermont and the practicing of sugaring is a form of socializing. It forms identity and cohesion within a community and the state. It is a tradition as people like SF grew up doing this to spend time with friends and family. The making of maple syrups is important in defining the culture, environment, geography and history of Vermont.