Maple Weekends, New York’s annual celebration of all that is maple, are being held March 18 and 19 and March 25 and 26.
On those weekends, many producers throughout the state open up their operations so the public can see how trees are tapped, how sap is collected and how sap is boiled down to make syrup. Some producers even operate pancakes breakfasts featuring their fresh maple syrup.
Go to http://www.nysmaple.com/maple-weekend-search/plan-your-maple-weekend/ to find a maple weekend site near you.
The production of maple syrup is extremely weather dependent — producers need cold night in the upper 20s and daytime temperatures in the low to mid-40s.
According to statistics from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the earliest a maple season began was Jan. 10 in 2011. The latest a season began was April 1 in 1940.
Last year, temperatures were a bit crazy, going up and down for a couple of months.
At the beginning of February, the weather warmed up just enough for many producers to head out to their trees, tap and start harvesting sap. Temperatures need to be about 40 degrees or a little higher during the day to get the sap flowing and then down below freezing (not too cold, in the upper 20s is best) at night.
As producers relished making syrup early in the season, their happiness was short-lived as temperatures plummeted in mid-February — even hitting single digits for highs Feb. 14 and lows way below zero for three straight days (Feb. 13, 14 and 15).
Producers got back to harvesting sap and making syrup in March and the season ended on a great note — a record 707,000 gallons of syrup were made.
The biggest maple county in the state is Lewis County, which also is home to the state’s Maple Museum.
Most recent figures for value of maple syrup production in New York:
Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service