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March is Maple Syrup Season throughout the State

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2024-03-04 18:22:00

Check out a stand of maple trees, known as a sugarbush, in early March in Upstate New York, and you’ll likely find buckets hanging along the sides of the trunks, catching the sap that will soon become maple syrup. Typically, there are only a few weeks that yield the appropriate weather conditions to get the sap running and collected—so the short, but sweet, maple season is something many Upstate New Yorkers look forward to each year.

More maple syrup comes from New York State than anywhere else in the country besides Vermont; more than 2,000 maple sugaring operations and producers, known as sugarmakers, can be found throughout virtually every corner of the state. More than 100 of them participate each year in the annual statewide Maple Weekends, which are scheduled for March 16-17 and 23-24 for 2024.

During Maple Weekends, sugarmakers in the Adirondacks, the Thousand Islands, the Finger Lakes, the Capital Region, Central New York, Western New York, the Chautauqua-Allegheny region, the Catskills, and the Hudson Valley open their doors of their sugar shacks to show visitors the inner workings of what it takes to turn sap to syrup. As it turns out, it takes a lot: 40 gallons of sap to create one gallon of syrup, to be exact, plus a lot of patience and hard work along the way, since boiling maple sap requires constant supervision and temperature monitoring to make sure it comes off the heat when it reaches 219 degrees exactly—the moment it officially becomes maple syrup.

But for Upstate New York’s sugarmakers, making syrup is a labor of love, and those who welcome the public to learn about their craft are happy to share their secrets. From quiet, mom-and-pop operations offering simple and intimate tours of their facilities to large-scale events with music, games, vendors, activities, and pancake breakfasts, there’s a wide variety of activities to choose from amongst the businesses that participate in Maple Weekends. 

Offerings are different at each location, but many offer the opportunity do thigs like tour a sugar sack as the sap boils, walk through a sugar bush and learn to tap trees, observe the bottling process, watch demonstrations on the steps it takes to get syrup from tapped tree to table, and of course try some sweet samples, in their many forms. Many locations offer gift shops or on-site vendors during the weekend where you can purchase not only the syrup itself, but a wide range of other maple-based products, from maple sugar candy to maple popcorn and cotton candy to sauces and marinades to ice cream, donuts, coffee, and even maple-based wine. You’ll find delicious delicacies that you never imagined maple to be a part of—it’s a fun tasting adventure in addition to the opportunity to learn about the history and hands-on production of this special sweet. A full map of participating vendors and their hours of operation can be found on the official Maple Weekends website.


syrup bottles photo credit Maple Weekend
maple farm sign photo credit Maple Weekend
Sugar shack photo credit Maple Weekend
learning about maple syrup photo credit Maple Weekend
Pancakes photo credit Maple Weekend

posted at: 2024-03-04 18:22:00, last updated: 2024-03-04 18:40:54

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