Saturday, March 7, 2020

Craving Natural Sweetness? There’s a Sap for That

maple jack wax being madeThe fourteenth annual Thurman Maple Days, a three-weekend event, is set to kick-off Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15, continuing through March 29th. The event offers self-guided tours of eight agricultural sites in the rural town of Thurman, self-dubbed “Maple Capital of Warren County,” just 20 minutes from downtown Lake George.

Highlighting the event are stops at four maple farms, where sap collected from nearby woodland via buckets and/or tubes, is boiled in evaporators until it is reduced to syrup. Visitors can see the process and the more energy-efficient equipment that saves fuel and time, putting a modern spin on an age-old art.

Visitors can sample different grades of syrup and assorted confections made from syrup, including maple cream-filled chocolate bonbons, maple brittle, maple cotton candy, maple glazed nuts and the traditional maple sugar candies. Traditional maple syrup has many new variations. Some syrup is infused with complementary flavors, while some is aged in bourbon barrels.

Participating maple farms are Valley Road Maple, offering a pancake breakfast from 9 am to 1 pm; Hidden Hollow Maple operated by three generations of the Wallace family; a relative newcomer, Mud St. Maple; and Toad Hill Maple, which offers wagon rides to the sugar bush. Peru Llama Farm showcases communicating with llamas. Blackberry Hill Farm features organic bread, cheese and poultry and non-GMO meats. Wini Martin of Martin’s Lumber hosts an artisan market offering a wide range of items and interactive demonstrations and Gary Martin demonstrates use of a band saw mill and a forge.

Nettle Meadow Farm and Cheese Dairy will offer tours to the Kemp Sanctuary animals (weather permitting), and samples of many of its internationally-awarded cheeses, as well as seasonal treats such as spicy maple cheese curds, maple butter and Jack Wax goat cheese icing.

Visitors can navigate to all eight sites with passports available at each farm, at Thurman town hall entryway, or by downloading one online.

All are urged to fill in the prize drawing entry form on the passport and leave it at the last farm they visit. A drawing will be held on March 29th and two winners each will be presented with a gift basket stuffed with locally-produced goods, including syrup, candies, jewelry, quilted items, books, and gift certificates.

Saturday, March 14 features the 60th Jack Wax Party held at Thurman town hall to raise money to fight cancer. Begun in 1959 as a community effort to help a family with a young son battling leukemia, the event was continued after the boy’s death as a way of supporting the work of the American Cancer Society.

This year serving at the large buffet begins at 3 pm and continues until all are served (about 8 pm) The featured dessert will be maple jack wax, also known as “sugar on snow.” In this case, maple syrup is simmered until it reaches 230℉ degrees, creating a taffy-like consistency when drizzled over shaved ice. The Warren County Ramblers provide live music, and raffle tickets will be drawn hourly for winners of Jack Wax Party gift baskets.

More information about Thurman Maple Days is available online.

Photo of maple taffy-like jack wax being made provided.

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