One of the “sweetest” events of early spring will be hosted by over 110 maple producers across New York State. The 21st Annual Maple Weekends will be held for two weekends (in March and April), March 19-20 and April 2-3, offering free open houses for the public to see and learn how maple syrup and other related products are produced. New York State is the country’s third largest maple producer and the world’s fourth largest, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Celebrate the “sweetest time of the year” in New York State as the sap from maple trees – the official New York State tree – starts running and the maple sugaring season gets underway. The state’s typical maple production season spans from the last week in February through the first week in April, or when trees begin to bud.
During each Maple Weekend, maple products will be available to sample for free and to purchase, while demonstrations will show how maple syrup is tapped from trees, collected as sap and boiled into syrup. Some of the sugar or sap houses will provide a variety of other activities to make visits even more memorable such as pancake breakfasts, music, tastings and tours.
Here are just some of the many maple farms across New York State taking part in this year’s Maple Weekends:
Cornell University – Uihlein Forest, Lake Placid: Visitors will have a guided tour of the entire syrup production process, beginning in the sugarbush where the sap is collected and ending in the sugarhouse where people can see, smell and taste fresh maple syrup being made. Visitors will also learn about ongoing research projects and a variety of maple products will be available to purchase in the gift shop. Visit www.cornellmaple.com.
Toad Hill Maple Farm, Thurman: The Galusha family has produced pure Adirondack maple products at Toad Hill Maple Farm for more than 40 years. In 2011 they opened their large new timber frame sugarhouse, including a new energy-efficient process for producing pure maple syrup using a wood-fired evaporator, a reverse osmosis machine and large stainless steel tanks. Toad Hill is the largest maple producer in Warren County, gathering sap from more than 3,700 sugar maple trees. Visit Toad Hill for a tour and see its new maple kitchen where it packages syrup and makes maple cream, candy and sugar. Enjoy samples and browse its products in the gift shop. Visit www.toadhillmaple.com or call (518)-623-4744.
Catskill Mountain Maple, Delancey: Catskill Mountain Maple & Maplewood Farm & Orchard are co-hosting Maple Weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. So put on your boots, grab the kids and eat a complimentary pancake, egg and sausage breakfast until 2 p.m. with refreshments in the heated showroom. Visitors can sample many maple products and have access to free recipes. Demonstrations feature the oil-fired evaporator making syrup and the canning process. The staff will teach visitors how to make their own candy and maple cream. See what granulated sugar is all about by touring the sugar bush and watch the staff tap a maple tree while noticing the sap lines and holding tanks. Warm up with mulled cider from Grandpas Dutch oven heated over the outdoor open fire. Watch sap drip into the old sap bucket from the maple tree. Visit catskillmountainmaple.com or call (607) 746- 6215.
Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn, Angelica: This family-owned restaurant celebrates its 51st season, serving its famous, original all-you-can-eat Buckwheat Pancakes and its own Pure Maple Syrup, produced in the restaurant’s basement. Cartright’s Maple Tree Inn has been featured on PBS, Rochester & Buffalo TV stations, in the New York Times and numerous other newspapers. During Maple Weekends, the Inn will serve pancake meals, demonstrating making maple syrup and hosting tours. Visit the gift shop for its signature pancake mix, pure maple syrup, maple sugar, maple cream, granulated maple sugar and maple peanuts. Visit www.cartwrightsmapletreeinn.com or call (585)-567-8181.
Wright Farms Inc., Farmersville: Family-owned Wright Farms has been in business since 1840, with five generations of Wrights producing maple syrup and maple products on the farm. Currently there are over 7000 taps and a modern sugarhouse containing a 6×16 wood-fired evaporator with an energy saving steam-away system used to produce 1,100 to 1,300 gallons of pure maple syrup each year. Wright Farms serves jack wax (sugar on snow) throughout the day. Visit www.wrightfarmsmaplesyrup.com.
Finger Lakes Region
Cayuga Nature Center, Ithaca: Cayuga Nature Center Maplefest features syrup samplings, demonstrations, crafts and games for kids, live music, tours of Sugarbush, animal programs, craft vendors and a pancake breakfast both weekend mornings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Maplefest costs $12 for adults, $7 for children under 12 and $35 for an entire family. CNC members receive discounted pricing. Visit www.cayuganaturecenter.org or call (607) 273-6260.
Greater Niagara Region
Beaver Meadow Audubon, North Java: Observe through live demonstrations how maple sugaring has been done throughout the ages, from Native American times to early Settlers to Modern Day America. Other activities include crafts, food, games, nature walks, face painting and much more. To support Beaver Meadow Audubon’s education programs and mission, purchase a pancake breakfast with sausage and eggs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with maple products featured. Visit www.buffaloaudubon.com or call (585)457-3228.
All Maple Weekend activities take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and a complete list of participants, visit www.mapleweekend.com.
Hudson Valley Region
Crown Maple, Dover Plains: During Maple Weekends enjoy everything from complimentary maple syrup and maple sugar tastings to maple cotton candy, and even maple popcorn! Learn more about where maple syrup comes from with tapping demonstrations and self-guided tours of our first class facility. Ask about our Crown Maple inspired cocktails. Don’t forget to stop by our farm stand for lunch and to purchase specialty made maple products and enjoy the picturesque view of Madava Farms while you toast a complimentary marshmallow around our patio fire pit. Café will be open featuring our special Maple Weekend menu. Visit www.crownmaple.com or call (845) 877-0640).