I am in Tamworth and put out my buckets March 1st. That day was sunny, and had calm winds, so some sun exposed trees ran a little bit that day. Since then it's been frozen, till today, and it's raining. Tuesday the 8th and Wed the 9th it may run.
If you tapped sugar maple and not red maple you get more % of sugar, but both trees run sugar, as a great deal of other trees do.
More or less the ratio is given by the state, but I don't know the links. I am a little hobby guy too with 37 taps so far. The last several years were from 40:1 to 44:1.
More or less taps dry up in around a loose 6 weeks, so tapping now should get you what ever 4 taps gets.
The grades run from Fancy , Grades A, Grades B, and C as time passes. The best grade for making candies is Fancy and Grades A.
A lot of that is hype IMO, but there is a lighter shade of Grade A and then a Amber, and so on.
I think Grades B taste more like maple, and maybe grades C which is siad to be animal fodder, but I made some of that last year. The stuff is super sweet, and black. People asked me for that for cooking, but it turns out it's good stuff on pancakes.
I read on line some where that around 60 sugar shacks will be having open house, so maybe the kids can see a real pro set up as well.
So far as I can tell this link is non profit and state run
New Hampshire Maple Producers Association - Welcoming Page
Just ran a quick search.
On that link is a history
I don't buy that tail a bit.
I can't say I know the history either, but I will be money it didn't happen that way and more than likely happened long before whiteman presented metal tools.
My best guess is that thousands of years before metal tools, a native hunting in Fall, came on a deer or moose rub. Both of these local animals rub trees as part of their mating rituals.
I have personally encounted rubs with amber beads of maple syrup, yes real maple syrup, where the beads collected enough sugar in a few drops on smaller sapling braches.
I would assume the natives like me were curious about the amber color beads and found them sticky to the touch. Now i know what a sugar maple is any time of year, and I can't recall exactly what I did, but I did stick my grubby finger in my mouth to get that sticky sap off, and it was sure maple syrup.
You could sugar with stone tools and a few sticks, collecting sap in trays made of elm bark, now gone missing, and birch bark.
With a village making trays you could refine sugar that way with little to no heat, and even early natives could boil off sugar in raw hide bags with heated stones, or a small fire right under some forms of raw hide like containers.
I could get deeper, but modern man would find some of this nauseous.