There are a variety of places that a person can visit to see maple sap collected, especially this weekend (March 23-24) as maple producers join together for the second of two New York State Maple Producers Association Maple Weekends.
According to New York State Maple Producers Association President Dwayne Hill, the organization has grown to 575 members and helps to educate the public about the production of maple products. Hill stresses the importance of increasing the number of maple producers in New York State. He sees the world dependence on maple products rising, which he believes is partially due to maple being a natural sweetener.
“Making maple syrup is a love affair,” says Hill. “It is labor intensive. We have to be flexible as we can only make as much maple as Mother Natures gives to us. Last year was an early season and this one will be a later one.”
Hill explains that official Maple Weekends are planned well in advance but when the season is longer, most producers welcome the opportunity to schedule private tours or talk with visitors about the maple making process. Some producers offer rides through the property while others allow for snowshoeing or hiking tours through the maple woods.
Kirk Bassarab, owner of Black Rooster Maple in Keene, says, “We anticipate that we will be boiling sap this weekend. The weather looks conducive to continuing to collect and make syrup. People are welcome to stop by the store for warm maple syrup samples as well as see our maple candy, syrup and maple cream.
As a producer, Bassarab enjoys when people stop by and ask questions about the maple making process using their wood-fired evaporator. He reminisces about starting out as a backyard producer to now having a 600-tap organization, sugar shack and store in Keene.
“If the sap isn’t running we can take a bit more time to explain the maple making process,” says Bassarab. “ Everything is weather dependent but there is always something to see. The Maple Weekend hours are from 10 am to 4 pm, but we are open all year long.”
For scheduled pancake breakfasts, tours and even a beginner Maple workshop to kick-start a home maple business check out the Maple Weekend site and find a local producer.
Photo courtesy NYS Maple Weekend.