Officials tour maple sugar houses to celebrate year’s 1st crop

  • Paul Zononi, co-owner of Paul’s Sugar House, talks with state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides during a visit Monday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/8/2021 7:51:15 PM

WILLIAMSBURG — Following a record-breaking year, maple sugarers Paul and Serena Zononi hosted a delegation of state officials who came to celebrate the maple crop.

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides and other dignitaries toured three different area maple syrup producers on Monday in recognition of Massachusetts Maple Month.

March was declared Massachusetts Maple Month by Gov. Charlie Baker this year, and in a release announcing the tour it was noted that annual maple production is worth more than $5 million to state farmers.

The stops on the tour were Stonegate Farm Sugarhouse in Conway, Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington and Paul’s Sugar House, at 28 Goshen Road in Williamsburg.

“Maple syrup is the first agricultural crop of the season,” Theoharides noted at Paul’s Sugar House. “It’s a nice way to welcome the spring.”

Joining Theoharides on the tour were state Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux and Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland.

At Paul’s Sugar House, husband-and-wife proprietors Paul and Serena Zononi shared details about their operation.

Paul Zononi said that last year was a record year for their operation, with more than 1,400 gallons of syrup produced.

“We sold all of it,” he said.

Zononi said most of the trees he and his wife tap are in Cummington and Goshen. And he said that Serena is better at tapping trees than he is.

“Her taps are meticulous,” he said.

The sap is not yet running in earnest this year, however.

“We’ve had one little boil and that’s it,” Serena said.

Aside from the couple, the only other person who works at Paul’s Sugar House is Jameson Hooker, who’s been with them for 11 years.

Theoharides noted that the commonwealth has made a lot of investments in the form of grants for energy-efficient equipment for maple producers. The Zononis made use of such a grant when purchasing their evaporator around a decade ago.

Serena Zononi said the evaporator is 85% efficient, burns green wood and uses “about 50 percent less wood than an average evaporator.”




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy