Northern New Yorkers are definitely not strangers to cold winter weather. But most of us would rather have not had to deal with the brutally relentless cold that gripped much of the nation during December and January.
According to data from the Southeast Regional Climate Center, cities including Buffalo, New York; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Bangor, Maine all experienced their coldest 2-week-stretch of weather ever recorded last Dec. 23 – Jan. 5. The week between Christmas and New Year’s was the coldest on record in Buffalo’s history. And, on Dec. 28, 30 record low temperatures were set across the country; the lowest of which was recorded in Watertown, NY; -32°F. Eighteen east coast cities saw record lows on January 2, including Morrisville, Vermont; -29°F. Their previous low for that date was -14°F. And let’s not forget he first major storm of 2018; the infamous ‘bomb cyclone’ or bombogenesis. » Continue Reading.
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the first results of a project evaluating the opportunity to clone high sugar maple trees. The long-term goal is to produce rooted “sweet tree” clones that maple producers can plant to enhance their sugarmaking operations.
Cornell University plant pathologist Keith L. Perry conducted the research in collaboration with Joe Orefice, director of the Cornell Uilhein Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid. » Continue Reading.
Sugaring season is in full swing in Thurman. Thurman Maple Days are set to begin March 10 and 11, continuing Saturdays and Sundays through March 25. Five Thurman maple producers — four of them the largest in Warren County – will open their sugarhouses to show how this age-old art is practiced with the help of technological advancements.
Each weekend offers open barns at Adirondack Gold, Valley Road, Hidden Hollow, Toad Hill and Windy Ridge maple farms, all offering free tours of sugarbushes and sugarhouses, with demonstrations and talks about tapping, evaporating, filtering and candy-making. Toad Hill will offer wagon rides to the sugar bush through a traditional covered bridge. Windy Ridge will demonstrate sugaring done the old fashioned way, a pancake breakfast will be held at Valley Road, and Adirondack Gold Tapper’s will lead snowshoe hikes into the sugar bush. » Continue Reading.
Valentine’s Day. The day when, more than at any other time of the year, people declare feelings of romantic interest, love, and adoration for one another. This is most-often done with a card. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards will be exchanged in the US, this year; 2.6 billion worldwide (according to the Greeting Card Association).
The oldest known Valentine’s Day card, if you will, is still in existence. It’s a poem from Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife; written while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415, and preserved in the British Library in London. » Continue Reading.
In a recent newsletter from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, she mentioned visiting the facilities of the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation to discuss strategies for measuring and combating acid rain in the Adirondacks. Although acid rain remains an important topic of study and discussion, the once commonplace phrase has become somewhat obscure in recent years and the problems associated with acid rain have taken a back seat to other, more widely discussed environment-impacting issues.
Like global warming, acid rain results from burning fossil fuels, either to generate electricity at large power plants or to run vehicles and heavy equipment. As the resulting ‘acid gasses’ are released into the air, they combine with water vapor, producing sulfuric and nitric acids, which fall to earth in acidified rain, snow, sleet, fog, mist, or hail. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Land Conservancy is kicking off a Living Land Series with a talk on maple sugaring, on Wednesday, June 28 at 5:30 pm.
Local Bolton resident Sam Caldwell of Bixby’s Best will explain the art of maple sugaring and the creation of traditional Adirondack maple syrup.
The weekly presentations – held Wednesday evenings (except for July 5) from June 28th through August 16th in the LGLC’s Bolton Landing office – are free and open to the public, although registration is strongly recommended as seating is limited. » Continue Reading.
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the latest research results from NNY Maple Specialist Michael Farrell, director of the Cornell Uihlein Research Forest in Lake Placid, NY.
Farrell evaluated the production efficiencies of two sizes of maple sap tubing in gravity-based collection systems. The Evaluating 3/16-inch Maple Sap Tubing Systems Under Natural Flow and Artificial Vacuum Systems in NNY report can be viewed here.
Newly-developed 3/16-inch interior diameter tubing has been suggested as a way to achieve greater and easier natural vacuum pressure to draw sap from the taphole in a maple tree. Each additional inch of vacuum results in an average increase of five to seven percent more sap. » Continue Reading.
Since the mid-1990s, a one-day open house has grown across New York State into two full Maple Weekends. This weekend (March 25-26) is a great opportunity to learn more about our region’s favorite sugary treat. » Continue Reading.
Thurman Maple Days will be held on weekends in March, starting the 11th and ending the 26th. Free open houses will be held at sugarhouses across the Town of Thurman. Tours and talks will be held at each sugarhouse, as well as freshly made maple treats.
The first day Maple Days will conclude with the annual Maple Sugar Party, held at Thurman Town Hall, serving 4 pm to 9 pm, with a buffet and dessert of traditional maple jackwax, also known as “sugar on snow.” Entertainment will be provided by the Warren County Ramblers. » Continue Reading.
Each weekend in March, The Wild Center in Tupper Lake will be celebrating all things maple. Tour the sugar shack, try the maple quest, taste some maple treats at the cafe, and special programming celebrate the maple sugaring season. » Continue Reading.
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the results of a project exploring opportunities for regional maple sugarmakers to produce birch syrup.
Four sugarhouses participated in the 2015-2016 birch syrup project; one each in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Jefferson counties.
Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center Maple Program transported the sap collected from 61 paper birch trees there 20 miles to the Uihlein Forest sugarhouse for processing. » Continue Reading.
In partnership with the New York State Maple Foundation, New York Agriculture in the Classroom and Cornell Cooperative Extension have announced a maple syrup contest for grades Pre-K through 12.
Classrooms will be paired with a local maple producer to help guide them through the syrup-making process. Each division (elementary, middle school, high school) will be judged for taste, clarity, and color by a panel of maple experts this May. » Continue Reading.
Given that maple producers have to boil down roughly 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, you would think that dry weather might improve things. Obviously if drought could get rid of a bunch of water for free, the sap would become concentrated and you wouldn’t need to boil as much. Heck, in an extremely dry year maybe we could just drill into a maple and have granular sugar come dribbling out.
If only it worked that way. In general, a shortage of water during the growing season hampers the production of sugar and leads to lower sap sugar concentrations the following spring. Green plants have a magic formula for turning sunlight into sugar, and it calls for a few simple ingredients: water, carbon dioxide, sunlight and chlorophyll. If one item is missing, the transformation won’t work. I’m told most spells fail for want of a newt’s eye or some such, but if a thing as basic and usually commonplace as water is in short supply, the miracle of photosynthesis slows to a snail’s pace (which is likely used for some other spell). » Continue Reading.
Some years sugaring season goes by the book, which is to stay things starts cold, and over the course of four to six weeks spring arrives gradually and consistently. In such a scenario, the syrup usually starts out light colored and sweet, then as the weather warms and the microbial load in the sap increases, the color gets progressively darker and the flavor more complex. (What’s happening is the microbes are converting the sucrose in the sap to invert sugars, which leads to more caramelization and a different flavor profile.) Around the time the buds break, the biochemistry of the sap changes and it starts picking up some sometimes nasty off-flavors.
Then there are years like this, which don’t follow the script. I make syrup in southern Vermont, where we saw highs spike up into the seventies and lows plummet into the single digits. While the syrup color sort of tracked with the crazy temperatures, our last boil of the year produced syrup that had a light amber color and a dark, late-season flavor that left a weird aftertaste in your mouth. » Continue Reading.
This weekend New York State maple producers are opening their doors again for visits, tastings and pancake breakfasts. This celebration of spring can be found throughout the state with many producers offering a wide range of activities as well as samplings of their tasty maple products.
According to owner Pat Parker there are five generations of her family involved in her maple business. With almost 50,000 taps on 1,000 acres, the Parker Family Maple Farm in West Chazy proudly makes their local maple syrup while creating a year-round business. » Continue Reading.
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