Scores of Somerville families gathered at the Somerville Community Growing Center on Saturday to sample maple sap, watch it boil down to syrup and play in the warm weather for the annual Maple Boil Down Festival.
"Clearly everybody with a pre-school-aged child is out today," said Sarah Miller, who brought her four-year-old son to the event. "We're dying to recreate outside.”
Part of Groundwork Somerville's Maple Syrup Project, the festival is staffed by volunteers who explained how they tapped 10 sugar maple syrup trees in Somerville and collected 260 gallons of sap. Most of the trees were on the Tufts University campus, but volunteer Jonathan Reis said that the organization expected that the event would encourage more residents to tap trees in their yards.
Locals sampled clear, subtly sweet maple sap and watched the fire from a large wooden stove concentrate the sap into syrup. Some 40 gallons of sap boil down to one gallon of syrup, a volunteer said.
High school students in Groundwork's job corps hurried to serve hot apple cider, hot chocolate and waffles topped with maple syrup to a long line of customers.
Event coordinator Tai Dinnan said she attributed the sizable showing to the mild weather and the outreach that the organization did. Leading up to the event, Groundwork Somerville volunteers visited Somerville schools and the Somerville Public Library to educate children about making syrup.
Groundwork Somerville will sell the four gallons of syrup made during the event at the Union Square Farmers' Market, which begins in June.