The Gray Family has been producing Pure Maple Syrup on this
(Beaver Meadow Farm) since 1866. William H. Gray built
the original sugarhouse that is still standing just down the
road from the farm house, up on the bank. In 1934, brothers
Frank and Charles Gray built the currently used sugarhouse
to replace the older structure, and it was used by Charles
Gray to make syrup until 1960. In 1961, William F. “Willie”
Gray replaced the original wood-fired burner with an oil-fired
burner (in use today) and began operating the sugarhouse.
In response to weekend visitors to the sugarhouse, the
family started offering Sugar-On-Snow as a way to sample the
freshly made syrup. Gradually, additional menu items
were offered and the restaurant was born. Initially, the restaurant
was an extension of the old woodshed and the original size
of the building can be recognized by observing the posts within
the old dining area. Over the years, additions have been made
to the building adding more tables and increased space to
bring the building to its present size.
At one time, an additional wood fired evaporator was added
to the sugarhouse due to the high volume of maple sap that
was being gathered to be boiled down into maple syrup. This
2nd evaporator has been removed due to the installation of
a reverse osmosis machine that cuts the required boiling time
In 2003 the sugarhouse restaurant closed and the family
now concentrates on selling the syrup and derived maple products
at the farm and via direct mail.
Gray's Sugarhouse currently produces 400 gallons of syrup
annually on average from 1,800 taps, two thirds of which are
on a plastic pipeline network connected directly to the sugarhouse
with the other one third collected in buckets.
Maple Sugaring History in New England
Maple sugaring has been taking place in New
England long before the first colonists arrived. The settlers
learned sugaring from the Indians, who collected sap in hollowed-out
logs and steamed away the water by dropping in hot stones.
The sugar maple tree is a sturdy native of the northeastern
United States and grows abundantly in New England. Today,
much care is taken to produce maple syrup of uniform quality
and superlative flavor. Gathering and tapping operations recognize
the need to preserve the delicate balance of the sugar orchard.
Properly cared for sugar maples can be tapped at 40 years
of age and will yield sap for 100 years or more. The modern
evaporator, with its wood or oil fire, helps the producer
control the quality of the product. Syrup is checked for density,
color and taste before it is graded to Federal standards and
For a detailed Maple History visit the Massachusetts Maple
Producer's Association website (MMPA).