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More than 100 syrup producers open farms, sugar houses for NH Maple Weekend

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CONCORD, New Hampshire — New Hampshire's maple syrup producers are opening their farms and sugar houses to the public for the state's annual Maple Weekend.

More than 100 members of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association are participating in the events Saturday and Sunday in every part of the state.

They'll be explaining how they turn sap to syrup and offering free samples of syrup, along with other treats ranging from maple-glazed doughnuts to coffee brewed with sap. Some locations let children help collect sap, and others have pancake breakfasts, petting farms and horse-drawn hayrides.

It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Last year, United States maple syrup production totaled 3.3 million gallons, up 70 percent from 2012, when high temperatures limited sap flow. Vermont led all states with 132,000 gallons. New Hampshire produced 124,000 gallons, up from 76,000 in 2012 and 120,000 in 2011.

Below-freezing nights followed by warm days are necessary to start the sap flowing, a period that usually begins in late February or early March. Those conditions have arrived later in some parts of the state this year.

Those who miss this weekend's open houses will have another chance. More than a dozen producers will also open their operations to the public the weekends of March 29 and April 4.

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