|A bucket in Lewis County for collecting sap to make maple syrup|
Empire Farm & Dairy
It’s the sweetest time of the year — maple sugaring time.
As soon as the weather is perfect, those warmer days of 40 degrees or so and cool nights down in the upper 20s, the sap will begin oozing out of maple trees all over New York state. Maple producers will collect it, boil it down and make that delicious, ooey, gooey maple syrup that everyone wait for this time of year.
Also during March, many producers across the state will open for tours, sales and even some pancake breakfasts during the two Maple Weekends. This year, because of the early Easter holiday, the two weekends are not consecutive.
So, remember to head out to visit your local maple syrup producer during Maple Weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 19 and 20 and April 2 and 3.
Go to http://www.mapleweekend.com/locations.php to find a maple producer near you.
Lewis County is the largest producer of maple syrup in New York state. New York state ranks second in the country behind Vermont in maple syrup production. Maine comes in third.
|New York maple products at the State Fair|
As of early March 2015, temperatures were still too cold for the sap to begin running.
“If this horrible winter weather doesn’t shape up fast, the wonderful sweetness of Maple Weekends could be in jeopardy. To date, it’s been too cold and too snowy for most maple syrup producers to get into the woods and tap their trees. And even if they could tap, it’s been too cold for the sap to run,” wrote one maple blogger on March 7.
“Right now, some of the producers are getting things together and getting things ready,” Michele Ledoux, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County — the state’s largest maple producing county, said last year. “They are all waiting for the weather to break,” she said.
Luckily, once the weather cooperated and the sap began to flow, the maple producers were busy, busy, busy making syrup.
In 2014, New York producers made 546,000 gallons, down slightly from the 571,000 gallons in 2013. A total of 360,000 gallons were made in 2012.