There is something special about late March in Vermont…the time of year when sap begins to flow through miles of tubing that crisscross Vermont’s majestic Sugar Maple groves. Around the state, whether along busy roads or in the deep woods, steam rising from Sugar Houses can be seen twirling its way upward into the bright, blue (and often cold) sky as the sap is boiled into Pure Maple Syrup.
At our Sugar House, nestled in the rolling hills of the Champlain Valley along Route 7, visitors enjoy something unique in addition to the scent of the maple steam rising from the chimney: the lively melodies of banjos, harmonicas and mandolins melded with the rich voices of our friends, Bob Degree and the Bluegrass Storm and Banjo Dan and Willie. Together, the two bands have for over 35 years played to our friends, family and customers who join us to celebrate what we here in Vermont call Sugaring Season.
For decades, Bob Degree and The Bluegrass Storm* have entertained audiences around Vermont with its hard-driving bluegrass sound. It was in 1990 that Sam Cutting, Sr. first recruited Bob to play the Sugar on Snow parties at Dakin Farm and they’ve played here ever since, “Of course I said we would play when we were asked,” said Bob. “Sam Sr. is such an incredible guy and the events always have great energy.”
Brothers Banjo Dan and Willie, also known as the Sky Blue Boys, have played together since 1972 and during that time toured and recorded extensively for many of the region’s top acoustic musicians. Their rich repertoire includes a variety of acoustic instruments and newer songs including their own compositions.
Dan and Willie look forward to Dakin Farm’s Sugar on Snow parties every year, “There is nothing in the world that is more ‘Vermont’ than maple syrup,” said Dan. “Plus, Sam always makes sure we get a really good breakfast!”
Speaking of a “really good breakfast”…for generations our friends, family and customers have joined us for our Annual All You Can Eat breakfast serving fluffy buttermilk pancakes, our own Pure Vermont Maple Syrup, thick sliced, cob-smoked bacon and smoked maple sausage. And for lunch, our own Maple Chili, Maple Baked Beans, Maple Sausage Hoagies cooked in sap and of course, this year’s newest crop of pure Vermont maple syrup over Spring snow or ice cream.
“Playing at Sugar on Snow is like playing for old friends,” said Bob. “There is a woman who has come to see us and enjoy the breakfast every year since she was a little baby, when her grandmother would bring her.”
For more information on Dakin Farm’s Sugar on Snow Parties, visit http://www.dakinfarm.com/2015-Sugar-On-Snow.dlp
*When Bob Degree first began playing Dakin Farm Sugar on Snow parties, his band was named Lost Posse and its members included: Bob Degree, Bob’s brother Mike Degree, Chris Clark and Kirk Lord. Kirk Lord and Bob Degree are still playing today as members of Bob Degree and the Bluegrass Storm.