My family looks forward to this time of year, not only because of the change in season, but because that change brings maple time. Though we have just a few maple trees to tap, larger producers are already starting to make my family’s favorite sugary treat, maple syrup.
What started in the mid 1990s as a simple open house dubbed Maple Sunday has now grown across New York State into two Maple Weekends. The next two weekends, March 21-22 and March 28-29, the New York State Maple Producers Association are opening their properties and sugarhouses for tours, pancake breakfasts, activities and tastings.
Around the Adirondacks maple producers join together to host special weekends throughout March and April. Chazy’s Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery will debut a new maple wine on March 21 while the Thurman Maple Days schedule is packed with tours to maple producers, farm visits with wagon rides and recipe sampling.
According to Uihlein Sugar Maple Research Director Mike Farrell, the Northern Maple Specialist at the Cornell Sugar Maple Research Extension Program, the Lake Placid field station will be open both weekends for tours.
“Adirondack Maple Weekend is our big area maple event and will be the second weekend [March 28-29],” says Farrell. “Whiteface Mountain and Mt Van Ho are having fun races over the weekend. The Paul Smith’s VIC has workshops and area restaurants are offering specials and tastings.”
Don’t’ worry if you miss the official Maple Weekends, most producers still welcome visitors with advanced notice. The Hadley Business Association waits until the end of April to host its Maple in April Festival.
In its 11th year, Maple in April has people lining Rockwell Street in Hadley to see crafts, food, strolling musicians, and the Lil’ Sugar Dust-off Cart, Truck and Cycle Show. Families will enjoy the wagon rides, model railroad display and other kids’ activities. Enjoy the maple season!
Photo of Uihlein Sugar Maple Research maple products used with the permission of Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTime.com
I remember well helping my neighbor collect and boil sap in Oswego County on weekends and after school in the late ’50’s. Up until that time I had been a city kid and didn’t know where maple syrup came from, so it was a revelation. It was old-fashioned buckets with lids, although plastic collecting bags were also just starting to be used. On my way to his house, I would cut through the sugar bush and sample the fresh sap from one of the buckets. As I recall, the taste was like slightly sweetened water.
The boiling pan might have been 2’x4′ and 6″ deep, supported by cement blocks over a wood fire in his front yard. It was a treat to sample the still hot syrup, or if there was clean snow about, pour some into the snow and eat maple snow.
The first time I encountered a pipeline (some 30 years later) was while fishing in NE Pennsylvania; it took me awhile to figure out what I was looking at, because the line was disconnected from the trees and just laying on the ground in summer..