County Profile: Washington County

Posted on Jan 24 2022 in County
Maple syrup from LM Sugarbush
Pure maple syrup comes in a variety of jugs and decorative glass bottles at the LM Sugarbush farm in Washington County. The family farm hosts its annual maple syrup festival beginning Feb. 26. Photo provided by LM Sugarbush, LLC. 

Named for our first president, Washington County shares the nation’s most popular county name with those in 30 other states.

Many stories about George Washington have been fabricated. One of the most enduring and endearing myths has to do with a cherry tree to illustrate his honesty. When he was 6 years old, the story goes, he told his father he could not tell a lie when confessing that he had damaged a prized cherry tree with a new hatchet given to him as a gift, perhaps on his Feb. 22 birthday.

This month and next, especially, though, it’s not cherry trees that bring Washington and Washington County to mind: it’s maple trees. And, honest to goodness, maple trees — or more accurately, the sap that gives us pure maple syrup — are just as much a part of Native American and Hoosier heritage as in Vermont.

Due east of the county seat of Salem, is the LM Sugarbush farm, a 140-acre family-owned operation that hosts an annual Maple Syrup Festival. 

The 2022 Festival will be held over two weekends, Feb. 26-27, and March 5-6. Hours each day are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. This will be the 31st annual festival. Parking and admission are free.

The festival, which draws up to 12,000 people each year, offers not just delicious pancakes and waffles but includes demonstrations and tours of the farm. There’s a Woodland Indian maple syrup-making demonstration and a demonstration of pioneers boiling the sap. Festivalgoers can learn about modern sap collecting, too.

In addition, visitors can enjoy maple-barbecued chicken, pork chops, pulled pork, music, over 50 craft and food vendors as well as many activities and games for young and old. The Sugarstore allows visitors to stock up on pure maple syrup and other maple goodies, T-shirts, mugs, and much more!

Festivalgoers are encouraged to dress in comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes. (Waterproof boots are recommended because the parking areas can get extremely muddy.) The busiest hours for the festival are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so if you arrive then, you may experience some waiting.  

Established as Leane and Michael’s Sugarbush in 1981, the operation shifted in 2013 and became LM Sugarbush, LLC. Maple syrup is available year-round and can be ordered online, or folks may visit the farm to purchase maple products by appointment only. The farm hosts several open house days throughout the year as well.

County Facts

Founded: 1814

Named for: U.S. President George Washington

Population: 14,011 (2018 estimate)

County seat: Salem

Indiana county number: 88

For more information on LM Sugarbush, contact:

LM Sugarbush, LLC
321 N. Garrison Hollow Road   
Salem, Indiana 47167

812-967-4491 • 877-841-8851 or on Facebook