Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has declared March to be Maple Month in the Commonwealth. Each year the designation is accompanied by a ceremonial first tree-tapping, and this year the Berkshires will claim that honor.

Lt.Gov. Karyn Polito is expected to read the proclamation and tap the first tree of the season this afternoon at Mill Brook Sugarhouse in Lenox. According to a release from the Plainfield-based  Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, Mass. Sec'y. of Energy & Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux, State Senator Adam Hinds and State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli are also scheduled to attend.

According to the Association, Massachusetts is the ninth-largest maple producing state in the nation, with sugarmakers producing 84,000 gallons in 2017. Full disclosure: some of that found its way onto my waffles last year.

Coming up the weekend of March 17-18, sugarhouses around the state will be open to visitors, showing and telling you how that sweet stuff finds its way from tree to table, and providing the opportunity to sample & buy maple syrup and other products. Many restaurants will feature menu items made with Mass. maple syrup that weekend too. You can find details on the non-profit Massachusetts Maple Producers Association website.

Happy Mass.Maple Month...celebrate accordingly!