Maple syrup producers in the north country will open their doors to the public this weekend and next for the statewide Maple Weekend celebration.
Visitors will be able to witness the syrup making process from the sap tapping and filtering processes to sap boiling and evaporating.
Michael R. Kenny, president of the St. Lawrence County Maple Producers Association, said the producers are preparing for the usual 200-strong crowd each weekend.
Some people have never tasted real maple syrup before or watched the process, Mr. Kenny said. There will also be samples for people to try like maple cream and candy.
Mr. Kenny said that although the winter has been cold, hes going to remain optimistic and hopeful for a good maple season.
He said the ideal temperatures for syrup season are below freezing at night and between 40 and 45 degrees during the day.
Weve made some syrup so far this year, not a lot, but I think were going to be ready for Maple Weekend, he said. Its been a long winter for all of us and people want to get out and get active. We see new faces every year.
Donald E. Finen, owner of the Norwood maple farm Fine-n-Dandy, said hes almost ready for the big weekend and hopes to have a successful season.
Were all busy getting ready for Maple Weekend, but the deep snow in the woods has slowed some of us with shorter legs down, he said. A lot of people are hoping for the weather to change. Warmer temperatures and sun have to get the trees thawed out.
Mr. Finen said underneath all the snow in the woods lies three to four inches of ice, which he hopes will be a benefit in the end.
Im hoping that well get warmer temperatures in the day to warm the trees and that ice will act as a refrigerator at night to keep up the perfect fluctuation, he said.
ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY
n Fine-n-Dandy, 2620 County Route 35, will be open to the public March 29 and 30.
n Parker Maple Farm, 2591 County Road 21, Canton, will be open this Saturday and Sunday.
n Sweeter Creations Sugar House, 348 Pearson Road, Madrid, will be open both days of each weekend.
n Orebed Sugar shack, 503 Ore Bed Road, DeKalb Junction, also will be open both weekends.
Participating producers in Lewis County are:
n Mosers Mapleridge Farm at 3981 Wilson Road, Copenhagen (March 22 and 29 only).
n Oswegatchie Education Center at 9340 Long Pond Road, Croghan.
n Yanceys Sugarbush at 7981 Long Pond Road, Croghan (March 29 and 30 only).
n Mosers Maple at 9609 Croghan Reservoir Road, Croghan.
n Pierces Sugar Spigot at 11603 Route 812, Croghan.
n Swisser Sweet Maple at 6242 Swiss Road, Castorland.
Participating producers in Jefferson County are:
n Rudds Family Maple Syrup at 16370 Balch Road, Mannsville.
n Burnhams Pure Maple Syrup at 14453 County Route 63, Adams Center.
n Massey Ranch at 20605 Combs Road, Watertown.
We open our sugarhouses and we give tours from the tree to the table, Lawrence J. Rudd, owner of Rudds Family Maple Syrup, said in a statement. People have a lot of questions. At Maple Weekend, they get answers. They can see it, smell it, taste it and experience the heritage New York maple syrup has. People get familiar with it.
The American Maple Museum at 9753 Main St., Croghan, will also be open all four weekend days from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., with pancake breakfast served each day from 7 a.m. to noon.
A pancake breakfast also will be served at the Smithville Fire Hall from 8 a.m. to noon this Saturday and at the Mannsville Methodist Church from 8 to 11 a.m. March 29.
In an early start to the season, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County gave tours of its sugarbush at the Canton Learning Farm to 24 kindergartners from Colton-Pierrepont Central on Tuesday.
Amy L. Sands, 4-H educator with Cornell, said that although Extension gives educational tours of the farm all year round, the agency doesnt usually participate in Maple Weekend.
We dont want to be in competition with the producers because thats their chance to showcase and sell their products, she said.
The children got to tap trees, learn about the syrup-making process and try a maple syrup and ice cream treat at the end of their field trip.
Video of the tour can be seen at http://wdt.me/Cornell-maple.