Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Maple Producers Association’

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Learning All About Making Maple

There are a variety of places that a person can visit to see maple sap collected, especially this weekend as maple producers join together for the final days of New York State Maple Producers Association Maple Weekend.

My husband and I have had our experiences (and disagreements) with attempting to make maple syrup. All in all and only with the ability to look back do we both see it as something that was fun. It is hard work but we can say we did it, and have said it with quite some frequency.

Our friends, that actually produce syrup commercially, roll their eyes and remind us that the most we ever produce is a couple of gallons. A couple of gallons of pure gold, I must add.

At Cornell University-Uihlein Sugar Maple Research and Extension Field Station scientists and maple producers continue to perfect ways to increase maple sugar production.

Currently the sap is collected and boiled at the same rate on their 200+ acre forest research station in Lake Placid. In the Sixties, scientists improved sap collection by applying suction to the existing network of tubes that made the bucket collection technique inefficient. (If anyone has ever collected sap by bucket, you do not need research to tell you how inefficient it is.)

Uihlein continues to share its discoveries and research with professional maple producers as well as the general public through training seminars and presentations. A tour through the research facility is one way to learn about maple collecting. Uihlein also offers webinars and workshops throughout the autumn in a range of topics from Maple Production For Beginners to Making Maple Cotton. Don’t worry. You can review the webinars all year long. There are saved versions available if you are interested in attempting to collect and boil your own sap.

Before we started tapping our own trees my family attended a Cornell University-Uihlein Sugar Maple Research and Extension Field Station seminar. Even now that we have been producing syrup for a few years, we still go on tours to see what tricks we can learn to better our own backyard operation.

My children understand how time consuming producing maple can be. It is with great pride that they pour their own syrup on pancakes, making sure not to waste a single drop.

These free Maple Weekends are not all about the work but also for producers to showcase their own facilities. There are pancake breakfasts, free samples, some wagon rides to the sugar bushes and family-friendly activities at various maple producers around the Adirondacks and the rest of New York State. Enjoy!

Photo of Uihlien maple syrup grade samples used with the permission of Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid and the High Peaks. Her second book, in the four book Adirondack Family Activities series, focuses on the Champlain Valley and will be in available in stores and online summer 2012.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Last Chance for Maple Weekends

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
Being able to successfully make maple syrup can reveal a lot about your personality. For our family, the credit for making our one-gallon of maple syrup goes largely to my husband. I collected the sap but he tended the fire and tested the product until we canned 4 quart jars of sticky-sweet liquid gold.

My husband and I discovered that we work well together. The tasks he willingly takes on are those that I do not care for and vice versa. Working together shows our children that the process makes the end result taste so much the better.

I enjoy hearing my children discuss with their friends how they were able to help make the syrup. It was definitely a family affair. Now they attend maple festivals and maple celebrations around the Adirondacks. Making maple was time consuming so with each taste of pancake soaked in syrup, my children have learned that some things are worth the wait.

For those that want to extend the maple season, Pok-O-MacCready in Willsboro will hold its “Last Drop” Pancake Breakfast ($6/adults, $5 (kids 12 and under) $6/seniors) from 8:00 a.m. – noon on April 30th. This event features homemade maple syrup collected and made right at the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center.

Further south in the Hadley/Lake Luzerne area the whole community is coming together for the 7th annual Maple in April Festival. On Friday, April 29th the event will kick off with a cooking contest in which all entries have to contain maple in the recipe.

Maple in April organizer Sue Wilder says, “People should drop off their entry at 4:00 p.m. at the Rockwell-Harmon House in Lake Luzerne and then enjoy live music, stories and roasting marshmallows from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the new Adirondack Folk School Amphitheater, right next door.”

The Maple in April Festival started out as a scholarship fundraising breakfast by the Hadley Business Association to support local high school students interested in pursuing a degree in business. Now the event is three days packed with activities.

Sue and Ernie Wilder will be demonstrating sugaring techniques at their Wilder’s Sugar Shack, 4088 Rockwell Street in Hadley. The breakfast (8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.) featuring homemade French Toast, Oscar’s Smokehouse maple sausage and Wilder maple syrup will kick off a day of festivities.

“The breakfast proceeds still benefit the Hadley-Luzerne Scholarship Fund,” says Wilder. “In addition we have a record number of vendors coming to sell their crafts on Saturday. The Saga City Exchange Group is putting on a children carnival with all sorts of games and there will be an inflatable Bounce House.”

There are plenty of family-friendly events happening. The town of Hadley has closed off Circular Street to create a “big truck” area where children can explore local fire trucks, dump trucks and logging trucks. The Upstate Model Railroaders will set up a display at the Hadley Town Hall and allow children (young and old) to work their scaled train models. Clarke Dunham, Tony award nominated Broadway set designer, is using this weekend to show highlights from his Railroad on Parade Museum, which is scheduled to open in Pottersville this July.

There are a lot of activities for people to do,” says Wilder, “ We also have an antique car show on Saturday and a historic walking tour on Sunday. This is the seventh year for the Maple in April Festival. We will have a lot of maple goodies and just fun for everyone.”


content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Thurman Maple Weekend

Two feet of new snow around the Adirondacks and I am ready to console myself in maple syrup. I am not sure if it will be in a celebration of spring or procrastination to shoveling. Either way the next three weeks are full of various maple-collecting Adirondack Family Activities  for all, starting with Thurman’s annual Maple Weekend March 12-13.

Sheryl Kenyon of Adirondack Gold Maple Farm recommends that people start right off with a pancake breakfast at neighboring Valley Road Maple Farm. As one of the founders of Thurman Maple Weekend, Kenyon knows there are plenty of ways to celebrate making maple syrup and wants families to come out and be active while doing it.

“It is a wonderful breakfast,” says Kenyon. “Then people can come to Adirondack Gold Maple Farm and see Tapper tap about 100 trees. We have about 650 taps going through tubing but people do still like that nostalgic fell of seeing sap buckets.”

Tapper, Kenyon’s husband is known by that moniker for all the maple taps he has put into trees. She admits that kids just love being around Tapper and will find recipes and other products available during the whole weekend at their old-fashioned wood burning sugarhouse. .

Kenyon says, “We expect there will still be a lot of snow this weekend. We have snowshoes if anyone wants to borrow them or feel free to bring your own. We encourage people to get out on our trails and make a full day of it. There will be maple donuts and maple chili as well as hot chocolate and coffee at Adirondack Gold Maple Farm. We will also have hotdogs with maple Michigan sauce in case people are looking for something different than the pancake breakfast.”

The breakfast she refers to will start at 9:00 a.m. on both days, March 12-13, at Valley Road Maple Farm. This local sugarhouse will demonstrate techniques from their state-of-the-art sugarhouse such as “taps on vacuum with reverse osmosis.” Valley Road Maple Farm won first prize for maple candy at the New York State Fair in 2008 and 2009.

Two additional spots are Toad Hill Maple Farm and Martin’s Lumber. Toad Hill Maple Farm is the largest maple producer in Warren County and will be giving tours of their new energy-efficient sugarhouse. Martin’s Lumber will have sawing demonstrations and stepping stones and paper jewelry crafts on hand. Kenyon informs me that Martin’s provides sustainable lumbering. One example is demonstrating the beautiful wood grain in nonproducing old sugar maple trees where the wood has changed from old maple taps.

A good time for all is the annual Maple Sugar Park at Thurman Town hall in Athol on Saturday, March 12 at 4:00 p.m.. This all-you-can eat buffet also serves as a benefit for the American Cancer Society. The $10/adults, $5/(kids 6-11), Free (5-under) goes toward fighting cancer while providing live music food and some jackwax.

No, I had to ask what jackwax was. It may be maple taffy to some or “sugar on snow” to others. Whatever you want to call it, the sugary, maple candy will be boiling away in celebration of all that is maple.

Don’t forget that the New York State Maple Producers’ Association Maple Weekend is March 19-20 and March 26-27. So if this weekend doesn’t fit your schedule there will be plenty of choices for families to get a real maple treat.

Photo: Adirondack Gold Maple Farm. Used with permission


content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities: New York Maple Sugar Days!

There are a variety of places that a person can visit to see maple sap collected, especially this weekend as maple producers join together for the first of two New York State Maple Producers Association Maple Weekends, March 20-21 and 27-28.

My husband and I have had our experiences (and disagreements) with attempting to make maple syrup. All in all and only with the ability to look back do we both see it as something that was fun. It was hard work but we can say we did it. And have, ad nauseum, to anyone within hearing, to the point where our friends that actually produce syrup roll their eyes and remind us we made one gallon. Yes, but one gallon of pure liquid gold. Either way for now we are leaving it to the experts.

At Cornell University-Uihlein scientists and maple producers, on their 200+ acre forest research station, are perfecting ways to increase production rates so that the sap is collected and boiled at the same rate. In the Sixties scientists worked to improve sap collection by applying suction to existing networks of tubes that rendered the bucket collection technique inefficient. Now sap buckets are only used for demonstration purposes, school trips or home sugaring operations.

Another way the maple industry continues to evolve is through the New York State Maple Producers Association with its 502 members and 150 associate members. According to Helen Thomas, Executive Director of the New York State Maple Producers Association, the organization has many goals such as keeping its membership informed with legislature in New York and Washington. Members receive the publication Maple Digest and the NYS Association newsletter. Incorporated in 1954, NY Maple Producers Association provides educational training, energy grants, networking opportunities and maple promotion opportunities.

“It is an interesting sugaring season,” says Thomas. “We have two climates in New York, the Adirondacks and downstate. The north didn’t get the heavy snowfall and seems to be having a good year. It is a concern for downstate as well as Ohio and Michigan. That heavy snowfall they received didn’t allow producers to get started until the middle of March, which cuts into the average season. It is also warming up fast.”

“We think it will be a short season for sugaring but there will be plenty of syrup for everyone in the New York State,” she laughs. “So not to worry.”

In order for the sap to flow temperatures must rise above freezing during the day and drop below freezing at night. The recent melts may be bad for the ski industry but it’s good for maple producers.

Last year the snow level was so high that the tubing remained under the snow. In some locations maple production was low because the sap remained frozen in the line. This weekend should not be a problem. It is supposed to be high 40s, low 50s allowing the sap to thaw and flow throughout the day.

“This is a great weekend activity for families. There is a producer in just about every county in upstate New York. There is someone within an hour drive,” assures Thomas.

Each producer may have different activities planned such as samplings, face painting, petting zoos and horse-drawn wagon rides. It is best to check with each location.

An all time favorite for this family is the pancake breakfast. It is a perfect avenue for my ten-year-old to attempt to fill his bottomless pit while I stock up on the maple cream. I am not a maple connoisseur and have no interest in being able to distinguish the various grades of syrup available, but with each pancake I eat, I do appreciate the amount of work each drop took to bring it to my table.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Northern NY to Host New York State Maple Tour

The Adirondack Maple Producers Association is hosting the September 27-29 New York State Maple Tour with speakers and sugarhouse tours starting from the Lake Placid Horseshow Grounds that will highlight the potentially great economic impact of growing the region’s sugaring industry. Cornell University Uihlein Maple Forest Director Michael Farrell has conducted a comprehensive survey of the maple industry in Northern New York and reports that his research shows the potential for the region to grow its maple production resources into a $9 million annual industry. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, Northern NY has 347 maple farms: 55 producers in Clinton County, 22 in Essex County, 36 in Franklin County, 26 in Jefferson County, 112 in Lewis County, and 96 in St. Lawrence County.

Here is the event’s schedule from the full announcement:

Dr. Timothy Perkins, director of the Proctor Maple Research Center at the University of Vermont, Underhill, Vermont, will open the program at a Sunday, September 27th evening reception with a discussion of the latest research on check-valve adapters. Those attending the Sunday evening program will learn about Get Involved with Maple opportunities to lease trees to a maple producer, tap themselves and sell sap to producers, or how to become a full-fledged maple producer. There is a $10 fee for the Sunday reception.

At the Monday, September 28th evening awards banquet, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Patrick Hooker and his staff will offer a report on the work of the new state Maple Task Force. The Maple Task Force was formed in March 2009 to identify the programmatic and regulatory measures needed to enhance the vitality of New York’s maple industry.

On Monday, September 28th, the New York State Maple Tour will visit sugarhouses in the Lake Placid area including:

North Country School, a co-ed boarding and day school for grade 4-9 children – the school operates a wood-fired evaporator to boil 400 buckets’ worth of sap collected by students. The school also leases several thousand taps to Tony Corwin, whose South Meadow Farm Maple Sugarworks is located across the road from the school. The school is currently thinning a newly-acquired forest for Corwin to tap.

Uihlein Maple Forest is a 200-plus acre Sugar Maple Research and Extension Field Station of Cornell University. Farrell will lead a tour of the 4,000-tap sugarbush, a sweet tree plantation, and newly-built education center and community garden. New York State Extension Forester and Cornell Maple Program Director Peter Smallidge will demonstrate proper tree felling and chainsaw safety techniques and a method for controlling beech understory sapling encroachment.

At Heaven Hill Farm, Henry Uihlein’s old sugarhouse has been renovated as a site for teaching local students about syrup production. Tour participants will learn about two research projects supported by the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program and Cornel University here – the timing of tapping for optimal sap flow and the effects of different thinning treatments on sugar maple tree growth and sap production.

The Tuesday, September 29th sugarhouse tour will travel one hour northeast to the Chazy, NY, area to visit:

Parker Family Maple Farm, a sugaring and dairy farm established in 1889 by Earl Parker’s grandparents. The modern wood sugarhouse has an attached candy kitchen, bottling room and restroom facilities. The Parkers tap between 18,000 and 20,000 trees, some rented from the neighboring WH Miner Agricultural Research Institute. William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute operates a demonstration dairy and equine farm and offers educational programs in dairy and equine management and environmental science. The Parker family has practiced sugarbush thinning for more than 40 years and is a collaborator on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program/Cornell University sugarbush thinning research project.

Homestead Maple is a smaller sugarbush operation established as a hobby business in 1994. Owner David Swan has 225 taps and 25 display buckets and is upgrading toward making maple sugaring a full-time retirement venture. Swan sells most of his syrup from the sugarhouse, but also uses independent representatives in Missouri and Maryland for sales.

Tour options include discounted tickets for a bird’s eye view of the Adirondack Mountains from the top of the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumps on Monday.

For New York State Maple Tour information and registration, contact the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau, 49 Parkside Drive, Lake Placid, NY 12946, 518-523-2445 x109. Registration deadline is September 11, 2009. Registration form and details are on the New York State Maple Producers Association website at www.nysmaple.com.

For details on Northern NY maple industry research in regional sugarbushes in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties go to the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org. Maple production and research information is on the Cornell Maple Program website at http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu.