We headed to Highland early on Saturday and our first stop was Duff's Sugar House at Fair Lawn Farm located on Rt. 84 south of Monterey.
Tim Duff's small family-run operation opens the trees by hand and the sugar water is collected the old way with buckets that tap into sugar maple trees.
Duff's sugar shed is located behind the house. This year the mountains surround the farm were snow-covered but the sun was warm.
Inside the shed, sugar water is boiled down in a wood-fired open pan and finished in an iron kettle. Here the Duffs' son adds wood to the boiling-down pan before joking and talking with the group of visitors grateful for the warmth of the building. Hands-on participation is encouraged. The Duffs did not have syrup for sale to the public this year -- there were samples available -- but to watch the process and talk with their family is worth the trip.
The snow-covered ground made walking conditions slick in some spots and a bit soggy in others but road surfaces were clear and dry. Boots and old shoes were helpful for the snowy/muddy ground.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
March 9, 2013