NH’s Best Maple Syrup

NH’s Best Maple Syrup
by Barbara Mills Lassonde

Plymouth, NH––February 16, 2024––Where can you find the best maple syrup in New Hampshire? According to the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, it’s Will-A-Way Maples in South Newbury. James Gove and Melissa Storrs, proprietors of Will-A-Way Maples recently took first place in the Carlisle Competition at the Association’s annual meeting in Plymouth.

In order to compete for the Carlisle trophy, each maple syrup sample must place first, second or third at a county fair. Gove and Storrs won ribbons at Hopkinton, Hillsborough and Deerfield fairs in 2023. Judging is based on clarity of the syrup, density and flavor. Winning the Carlisle award is difficult, because all of the entries are outstanding.

I visited Will-A-Way Maples to see what all the fuss was about. As I drove into the yard, steam billowed from the roof of the sugar house, telling me this year’s maple season has already begun and syrup is being made. Inside the sugar house, a cloud of maple-scented steam filled the building, giving a warm, cozy feeling. In the shiny, open evaporator pans, sap boiled furiously, steam rising up through the roof. Gove’s friend, Jim Westgate, pushed 30-inch logs into the fire of the 4×12-foot evaporator.

“We make about 1500 gallons of syrup and burn 17 to18 cords of wood each season,” Gove said.

I asked what makes his syrup better than the others. “The trees and the soil we have affect the flavor of the syrup,” Gove replied. “I’m also a perfectionist. My syrup is exactly the right density before it goes into the filter press, I taste each batch to be sure the flavor is right, and I keep everything clean. The evaporator pans are cleaned at the end of the day, which, I think, makes a higher quality syrup and keeps the sugar sand from accumulating.”

Sugar sand, or niter is a naturally-occurring substance which forms as maple sap is boiled. Filtering the syrup removes the niter, leaving a clear, golden product.

Gove’s interest in making maple syrup began when he helped Arnold (Andy) Anderson of Bradford for several years at Anderson’s sugar house. Gove has been making his own syrup in Newbury for the past 20 years. As his operation expanded, he needed more help, so his brother, Tim and friend Jim Westgate joined in. Now, with over 4,000 taps to collect sap from, Gove receives help from many more friends.

What does one do with 1500 gallons of syrup? “We make some of it into candy, cream, granulated sugar, maple mustard, vinegar, maple-coated nuts, maple jelly, cinnamon syrup and bourbon barrel-aged syrup,” Gove said. “We sell our products from our sugar house, at Spring Ledge Farm in New London, in local stores, through social media, and to wholesale buyers.”

What future plans does Gove have for his maple operation? “I’d like to add another 200-300 taps this year,” he said. “This is a labor of love, and I enjoy doing it. I call it my expensive hobby that just keeps on going.”

Will-A-Way Maples is located at 585 Gillingham Drive, which is at the intersection of Sutton Road and Gillingham Drive in South Newbury, about one mile off Route 103. “If you see steam rising from the sugar house, we’re boiling, and any time we’re boiling, folks can stop in,” Gove said. “We’ll be open for maple weekend, offering free samples of our products, maple ice cream and other treats.”

Runners-up for the Carlisle award were: Second place: Babel’s Sugar Shack in Mason; Third place: Sugarmomma’s Maple in Northwood; Fourth place: Journey’s End Maple in Pittsfield; and 5th place: Black Dog Bees & Maple Trees in Lebanon.

The maple sugaring season occurs only in the Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada for about 4-6 weeks during February and March. New Hampshire Maple Weekend is March 16 and 17, when sugar houses around the state will be open to visitors, and the NH Maple Producers Association encourages everyone to visit a sugar house to learn how this healthy sweetener is made.

Lawrence A. Carlisle Memorial was awarded to the best NH maple syrup in 2024

The Lawrence A. Carlisle Memorial was awarded to the best NH maple syrup in 2024!

This award is presented annually by the NH Maple Producers Association for excellence in production of maple syrup. Any NHMPA member can enter, and participation from novice to advanced sugarmakers is encouraged.

Commonly referred to as the Carlisle Award, the award is named for Lawrence A. Carlisle, a commissioner of Agriculture in the 1920s and 1930s, devoted to the development of the maple industry in New Hampshire and best known for introducing the maple grading system.

In a field of 9 competitors, James Gove and Melissa Storrs from Will-A-Way Maples took home the Carlisle Award.

5th place: Jason and Jennifer Weale, Black Dog Bees & Maple Trees

4th place: Marty and Amy Boisvert, Journey’s End Maple

3rd place: Debra Locke, Sugarmomma’s Maple

2nd place: Jeff and Paula Babel, Babel’s Sugar Shack

1st place: James Gove and Melissa Storrs, Will-A-Way Maples

Andrew Chisholm, President NHMPA, James Gove and Melissa Storrs from
Will-A-Way Maples, and Steven Roberge.

    2nd place: Jeff and Paula Babel, Babel’s Sugar Shack

3rd place: Debra Locke, Sugarmomma’s Maple

4th place: Marty and Amy Boisvert, Journey’s End Maple

5th place: Jason and Jennifer Weale, Black Dog Bees & Maple Trees

Moving Forward Together: Renew Your Association Membership Soon!

Moving Forward Together 

Dear Member:

It’s hard to believe summer is behind us, and we are deep into Fall – which means it’s time to start membership renewals.  

This past summer brought many challenges to the farming community across our state, from an exceptional frost/freeze event in May, to record rainfall for much of the region.  Given these challenges, I know as maple producers we all look to the 2024 maple season with optimism and high expectations.

We should also look forward to our association’s future with an optimistic outlook and high expectations.  2024 will be a year that puts the “brand” of New Hampshire Maple on a path to be truly sought after for our unique attributes.  

New Hampshire as a maple producing state is small compared to our neighbor to the north and our neighbor to the west.  However, producers in New Hampshire have a big story.  Show me a bottle of NH maple & you can show your customer the trees where that bottle came from. Small is our strength.  Your pride of what goes into every bottle of NH Maple is your strength.  As an association working together, we can have a big impact on getting the New Hampshire maple story told.  

We have a lot of meaningful opportunities to share for 2024 – details will be discussed at the annual meeting on January 27th, at the Common Man in Plymouth NH.  We will have guest speakers, a lot of new information on the ACER grant, and as always, the Carlisle Award. 

Your membership in our association is what gives New Hampshire Maple a voice and a story. 

Click here to renew your membership now!

Click here to register for the annual meeting!

All the best,
Andrew Chisholm
Interim President NHMPA

It’s Maple Season: Sugar House Owners Make Positive Impact on NH Students & Community

It’s Maple Season: Sugar House Owners Make Positive Impact on NH Students & Community

There’s nothing better than real New Hampshire maple syrup.

Kate Stanley, her husband Tim Robinson, and the students at Madison Elementary School know that better than anyone.

Kate and Tim own Turkey Street Maples, a sugar house in Chocorua, New Hampshire. When she’s not producing maple syrup, Kate also works as a teacher at Madison Elementary. Thanks to her efforts, the school has integrated a hands-on maple sugaring experience into the 3rd & 4th grade curriculum.

This writer journeyed north last weekend to meet Kate, Tim, and the students, and learn more about what the program is all about.

According to Kate, there are 350 syrup-producing members in the NH Maple Producers Association, around 175 of which are open for Maple Weekend (happening on March 18 & 19 this year). Maple Weekend, Kate said, is “a celebration of mapling in New Hampshire. It’s a way to get the general public out and learning about maple sugaring and how it’s made.” During this time, sugar houses like Turkey Street Maples welcome visitors from all over.

So how does Madison Elementary factor into all this?

A few years after Kate began teaching at the school, she and principal Heather Woodward teamed up to create a program allowing 3rd and 4th graders to learn all about maple syrup and tapping as part of their curriculum. Each year during maple season (which lasts anywhere from 15-35 days), the students get to go outside and try maple tapping themselves, which this writer got to see firsthand.

Megan, Townsquare Media
Megan, Townsquare Media

The kids all had a great time, and you could tell that they not only enjoyed the experience, but genuinely love their school and teachers. Several parents were also present, and seemed equally grateful that their children had such a unique, hands-on learning

Megan, Townsquare Media

opportunity. It truly is an awesome program.

After we finished tree tapping, Kate showed everyone the evaporator, which boils the tree sap before turning it into the maple syrup we know and love. It

turns out that it takes a whole lot of sap – five gallons, in fact – to produce just one pint of syrup. Interesting stuff, right?

Read More: NH Sugar House Owners Positively Impact Students & Community |

Sugarmomma’s Maple wins the 2023 Carlisle Award

The Lawrence A. Carlisle Memorial was awarded to the best NH maple syrup in 2023!

This award is presented annually by the NH Maple Producers Association for excellence in production of maple syrup. Any NHMPA member can enter, and participation from novice to advanced sugarmakers is encouraged.

Commonly referred to as the Carlisle Award, the award is named for Lawrence A. Carlisle, a commissioner of Agriculture in the 1920s and 1930s, devoted to the development of the maple industry in New Hampshire and best known for introducing the maple grading system.

In a field of 9 competitors, Nick Locke from Sugarmomma’s Maple Farm took home the Carlisle Award.

5th place: James Gove, Will-A-Way Maples

4th place: Charlie Hunt, Hunt’s Sugar House, LLC

3rd place: Shawn Atkins, Atkins Family Sugarhouse

2nd place: Jeff Babel, Babel’s Sugar Shack

1st place Winner: Nick Locke, Sugarmomma’s Maple


New Hampshire Maple Producers Association now offers a wonderful opportunity for you to support your favorite, all-natural sweet treat!  

For $20 you can now help foster the NHMPA mission of support for your favorite producer(s) in the production, promotion and use of the highest quality maple products, AND stay abreast of industry happenings by receiving the association newsletter, The Gathering Tank, which addresses  items of interest, educational and scientific production articles, contest winners, important dates and much more within the maple world here in beautiful New Hampshire.
Simply print the form from the link below, include all pertinent information and return with your payment to the address at the bottom of the form.  We will issue your Maple Supporter membership card once this is received. Click here for the Membership Form
Thank you for supporting the NH Maple Producers Association!  It is so “sweet” of you.
(This is a non-voting membership level)

Winter Meeting 2023

Annual Meeting

Saturday, January 21, 2023
9:00 am – 3:30 pm
The Common Man Inn & Spa
231 Main St, Plymouth, NH 03264
Form and payment must be received by January 2, 2023.

Guest Speakers for meeting:

-Townsquare Media talking about radio promos

-Trevor Hardy from Brookdale Farm talking about irrigation system that can be applied to maple

-Adam from the Bureau of Economic Development and Commerce talking about new grant

-Shane from UNH talking about new grant (Andy will work with Shane to bring back Maple School), Glenn Goodrich

-Abby Van den Burg from UVM

Check back for updates!

Download the registration form here!

Summer Meeting 2022

Please join us for the Summer Meeting at Patch Orchards in Lebanon on Saturday, July 30th!
The meeting will start at 10:30. We will be having lunch with pizza and salad, as well as donuts and ice cream provided by the Patches. The guest speaker will be Glenn Goodrich from Goodrich’s Maple Farm. He will be presenting on tapping techniques and tap hole health. We will wrap the day up with a tour at Harding Hill Farm’s new sap tubing installation in Wilmot to follow.
The cost per person to attend is $10. Please register ahead of time online, or email [email protected].
Patch Orchards is located at 40 Patch Rd. Lebanon, NH 03766

Click here to buy your ticket.

Want to mail in your registration? Click Here

Walter A. Felker Memorial Award Program

Here are the Felker Award Winners:

First $300:Dannicia LeBlanc

Did a beautiful piece of artwork of a maple tree and used the handprints of all her siblings to make the leaves on the tree, as well as a binder with information regarding the process of making maple syrup as well as a very large collection of recipes. Age 10 Home school grade 4. Fremont, NH


Second $150:Tess LaValliere
Age 9 Grade 4
New Boston Central School New Boston


Third $50: Anders Hannu
Age 15 home school grade 8
New Ipswich


The New Hampshire Maple Producers Association is proud to sponsor the annual Walter A. Felker Memorial Award Program. Commonly referred to as the Felker Award, the program and the monetary prize, aim to encourage interest by New Hampshire youth in the Granite State’s great maple sugaring tradition.

Open to NH residents, age 16 and younger, entrants are tasked with creating a project focused on any aspect of NH maple sugaring. This is purposely broad to allow youth to think outside of the box. Science projects, art projects, historical projects or any other projects are all welcome.

To participate in Felker Award competition, each entrant must

1. Be under the age of 16 years old and a NH resident
2. Complete the submission form and include it with their project
3. Create a project on anything NH maple-related
4. Write an essay about their project
a. If submitting a maple syrup entry, a written summary of the process used
to create the entry must be included

Although exact dates vary from year to year, entries to the competition are generally accepted through the third Friday in June with the winner announced at the annual Summer Meeting of the NH Maple Producers Association.

All entries must to submitted an NHMPA board member or postmarked and mailed to Dale Smith, 207 Lull Rd, New Boston, NH 03070 by June 17, 2022.

Maple as a part of the working landscape

This March the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association (NHMPA) is celebrating New Hampshire Maple Month! Maple products are some of NH’s unique agricultural commodities and maple making is a centuries old tradition in the state.

Maple syrup production is a key part of NH’s working landscape. Maple syrup is produced by collecting sap from maple trees. This is done by tapping maple trees and collecting the sap that flows out with tubing. Smaller operations or hobbyists may still use the old-fashioned method of hanging buckets on the taps, while larger producers have elaborate vacuum and tubing systems. Sap is then boiled to make maple syrup and other maple products.

When thinking of agriculture most people think of tractors plowing fields or cows being milked, but maple syrup is an agricultural crop that is produced in the woods. A maple producing forest is sometimes referred to as “sugarbush.” Much like agricultural fields, sugarbushes need to be maintained and cared for in order to remain productive. Keeping these forests in operation is something some NH maple producers consider to be an important contribution to the state. Rich and Jackie Menge of Maple Leaf Farm in Lyme said, “I think a big thing is that we are keeping the land in agriculture. It is giving us an incentive to not develop the property.” Similarly, Matthew and Barbara Patch of Patch Orchards in Lebanon said of their contribution, “We keep land open in the state of NH…and we are keeping it in farming.”

Maple is one of the top ten of agricultural crops produced in the state and in 2020 New Hampshire produced about 4% of the United States’ total maple crop. While sugarbushes produce sap for maple syrup during the maple season, all year round they contribute to a healthier environment, are habitat for many animals and birds, and provide recreation opportunities for people.

This month be sure to visit a local sugarhouse to see and taste the sweet maple products of the season in New Hampshire! To find a sugarhouse near you, visit the NHMPA website at www.nhmapleproducers.com.