Every spring, the members of the New York State Maple Producers Association invite families and friends into their “sugar houses” to experience the world of pure NY maple syrup. Located at approximately 160 farms and museums across New York State, Maple Weekend offers a delicious, fun-filled outing that has a little something for all maple-lovers to taste and experience.
Maple Weekend began in 1995 in Western New York as “Maple Sundays” with a simple goal: To educate the public about New York’s maple farming processes and traditions and to provide a chance to taste pure maple syrup in its many forms, right from the source.
Like last year, we went to the Cornell University Uihlein Forest, toured the (new) facility with some volunteers, and met with Mike Farrell Ph.D, who told us about the new developments there. We tasted many different kinds of syrup, and picked the pure birch syrup, that, we think, will make a perfect glaze for our salmon fillets. Then, we walked Bear Cub road up to Heaven Hill farm, with its wonderful views of the High Peaks.
What a lovely Sunday morning!
Sap lines in the forest
Plastic bags handling the sap
View from Heaven Hill
Sap lines into the new facility
Last year was the best year for maple syrup production in New York state history despite a short season following the harsh winter. Maple farmers produced more than 600,000 gallons of syrup from more than 2.3 million taps. To know more about last year’s experience, check here.
For two weekends (March 21 & 22, and March 28 & 29), join the fun and celebrate all things maple. The goal of these state-wide Maple Weekends is to give the public a firsthand opportunity to see how maple products are produced from farm to table, along with a chance to taste and purchase maple products.
Almost 160 maple producers across New York State open their facilities to show people how maple syrup and related maple products are made from the tree to their table. This fantastic, family-oriented event takes visitors back to their agricultural roots as they learn how a clear, water-like sap becomes a golden brown nectar. Each producer has something different to teach and entertain the guests. Whether it’s horse and wagon rides into the woods, farm animal petting areas or pancake breakfasts, there is something for everyone at Maple Weekend.
In Essex County alone, there are four participating sugar houses: Black Rooster Maple, Cornell University Uihlein Forest, Maple Brook Farm and Maple Knoll Farm.
We went to visit the Cornell University Uihlein Forest. There, we met with a group of local volunteers, who guided us through the entire syrup production process, beginning in the sugarbush where the sap is collected and ending in the sugarhouse where we could see, smell, and taste fresh maple syrup being made. We met Mike Farrell Ph.D, who told us about ongoing research projects and explained the four grades of syrup (common to all states and Canada). We were also lucky to taste eight varieties of syrup, ranging from birch, walnut to maple. At that stage, we could not resist buying a variety of maple products from the gift shop.
What a great time!
Sap Lines in the Forest
Sap Lines converging into filters
Receiving Sap Tanks
Boiling sap into Syrup
Wood fire boiling sap (the old way!)
With Mike, looking at real-time production
Warm syrup (We tasted it, what a blast!)