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Sap is rising: It’s maple syrup season in Highland County

Maple sugaring may have begun as a happy accident several centuries ago but it is now a thriving industry in which Virginia is a team player.

Indigenous people living in the northeastern North America apparently were the first to discover maple syrup and use it in cooking, long before Europeans settled here.

Although there are no written accounts to verify the discovery, several Native American legends share a similar story. However the first written document of maple sugaring in North America is dated 1557. A French explorer wrote, “There is a tree with the thickness and shape of a large walnut tree. It remained unused for a long time until someone tried to cut one down, releasing a kind of sugar which they found to be so tasty and as delicate as any good wine.”

Today, North America provides maple syrup the world over. Canada is the world’s largest producer; in the United States, Vermont leads with a year’s total of 898,000 gallons harvested. New York comes in second with a ...

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