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Maple Weekend offers one sweet chance to view syrup production

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Maple producers will be opening their sugarhouses to the public for the next two weekends as part of the state’s annual Maple Weekend program.

“Our techniques for making maple syrup today are both time-tested by tradition and enhanced by modern technology,” Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County Executive Director Michele E. Ledoux said in a statement. “On Maple Weekend, visitors can see all aspects of maple making, from the tapping of the trees to sap collecting to the boiling of the sap into syrup. Some producers will demonstrate the making of maple syrup into other products, including maple cream, maple cotton candy and maple sugar. Sampling will be available. Maple Weekend provides an easy and enjoyable, family-oriented opportunity to see how New York maple producers make some of the world’s finest syrup and related products.”

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 22 and 23 and again on March 29 and 30, although not all participating producers will be open all four days.

Donald M. Moser, president of the American Maple Museum in Croghan, said his family’s sugaring operation — which will be open for both weekends — saw a small run of sap last week, but there was not enough to boil right away.

It is often questionable whether there will be an ample supply of sap to boil for Maple Weekend, particularly the first weekend, and this year is no different, Mr. Moser said. “It’s always up in the air,” he said.

However, participating producers — in the absence of sap — have in the past boiled water to show off their evaporators, and other family-friendly activities will be on tap to educate and entertain visitors.

“When you are here, you will be able to hike on our interactive history of maple sugaring trail, taste free samples and watch sap boil its way to being maple syrup,” states a release from Oswegatchie Education Center, whose “A to Z Sugarhouse” will be open to the public both weekends. “You will often get to see and feel the fire below and smell the sweetness above.”

The annual event, which started in the 1990s in Wyoming County as Maple Sunday, now involves maple producers from throughout the state. However, according to the Maple Weekend web site, the goal remains the same: to give the public a first-hand opportunity to see how maple products are produced and the opportunity to taste and purchase maple products.

“We open our sugarhouses and we give tours from the tree to the table,” said Lawrence J. Rudd, owner of Rudd’s Family Maple Syrup in Mannsville, 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.”

Participating producers in Lewis County are as follows, with dates open in parentheses for those not participating in all four days: Moser’s Mapleridge Farm at 3981 Wilson Road, Copenhagen (March 22 and 29 only); Oswegatchie Education Center at 9340 Long Pond Road, Croghan; Yancey’s Sugarbush at 7981 Long Pond Road, Croghan (March 29 and 30 only); Moser’s Maple at 9609 Croghan Reservoir Road, Croghan; Pierce’s Sugar Spigot at 11603 Route 812, Croghan; and Swiss’er Sweet Maple at 6242 Swiss Road, Castorland.

Participating producers in Jefferson County are as follows: Rudd’s Family Maple Syrup at 16370 Balch Road, Mannsville; Burnham’s Pure Maple Syrup at 14453 County Route 63, Adams Center; and Massey Ranch at 20605 Combs Road, Watertown.

The American Maple Museum at 9753 Main St. in Croghan will also be open all four days from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., with pancake breakfasts served each day from 7 a.m. to noon.

Pancake breakfasts will also be held at the Smithville Fire Hall from 8 a.m. to noon on March 22 and the Mannsville Methodist Church from 8 to 11 a.m. March 29.

Visit www.mapleweekend.com for more information.

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