BERLIN — The White Mountains Community College’s Fortier Library will host an evening of education, culture, business and community development, dedicated to a topic many New Englanders hold near and dear: maple sugaring. The event, titled "Maple Sugaring in the North Country: Past, Present & Future," will feature three guest speakers, a cooking demonstration, and a student art and work exhibit, all keeping with the theme of maple sugaring in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods.
Guest speakers will include Lucien Blais of Bisson’s Sugar House, Jen Scarinza from the White Mountains Regional High School and Scarinza's Sugarhouse and Steven Roberge from UNH Cooperative Extension.
Blais, neighbor to the college and veteran sugar maker, will serve as the purveyor of history on the subject of syrup production in the North Country. Blais will discuss the experience and evolution of sugar making during his time as a sugar producer of 46 years, including a historical example of collaboration between the community and the college in the aftermath of the Great Ice Storm of 1998.
Scarinza will be covering the different grades of the syrup, including a tasting and explanation of the recent changes to the grading system. Travis Giles of the WMCC culinary arts program will then provide a demonstration of cooking using local maple syrup. Patrons will be invited to sample the dishes.
Stephen Roberge of UNH Cooperative Extension will conclude the evening with a conversation on the future of maple sugaring in the North Country. During this conversation, the effects of climate change on the industry along with other New Hampshire trends will be highlighted.
This maple sugaring event will also involve WMCC students by showcasing their work from two WMCC classes. Student drawings of sugaring equipment will be on display throughout the evening, courtesy of O’Brien Murphy’s Introduction to Drawing Spring Semester class. Student maple sugaring unit projects from Robin Scott’s Design in Instruction Education class will also be on display.
The event, free and open to the public, begins at 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 13.