M/cloudy
61°
M/cloudy
Hi 62° | Lo 47°

Peterborough

Modern technique, great taste

Father and son team capture both prizes in Ledger-Transcript syrup contest

  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..
  • The Ledger-Transcript's annual maple syrup contest drew 15 entries, with George Cilley of Francestown taking both the judge's first prize and the People's Choice award..

George Cilley of Francestown wanted to make a point when he entered the Ledger-Transcript’s annual maple syrup contest on Sunday.

“I use reverse osmosis when I make syrup,” Cilley said on Monday “It separates a lot of the water from the sap before you boil. People tell me all the time that they can taste the difference. They say it makes bad tasting syrup. But it doesn’t. And we proved it.”

The syrup produced by Cilley, who owns Cilley Sugarhouse on Pleasant Pond Road, and his 14-year-old son Austin, obviously tasted great. Competing against 14 other producers, the father-and-son team won both the judge’s choice and the people’s choice awards, the first time any entrant had topped both categories.

In his notes, judge Ben Watson described the Cilleys’ syrup as “rich, great mouthfeel.” And judge Kin Schilling wrote “maybe my favorite flavor,” noting that the Cilleys’ entry was a bit darker than the other finalists.

Cilley has set 2,800 taps this spring, working with Austin — “He’s kind of my partner, I guess,” George says — and getting help from friends John Robichaud and Robbie Lavoie.

He said reverse osmosis greatly reduces the amount of boiling needed to produce a gallon of syrup.

“It used to take 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon. Now it just takes eight to 10 gallons,” Cilley said.

Cilley added reverse osmosis equipment recently at his sugarhouse, after taking over operation from his uncle, Clyde “Skip” Cilley, who had been in the sugaring business in Francestown since the 1950s.

George Cilley grew up in Weare, where he started sugaring as a youngster in his back yard. He started working in the Francestown business in the 1990s.

The second place winners in the judges’ contest were Mark and Katie Fernald of Sharon.

Watson’s notes characterized the Fernalds’s syrup as “sweet, full favor, balanced.”

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.