Thinking about maple products, who would imagine you could get a sweet tasting liquid from a tree? According to Iroquois legend, it happened by accident one spring when Chief Woksis planted his tomahawk in a tree above a spot where the family always left a container for water. Sap from the gash dripped into the bucket and when his wife retrieved it, she thought the liquid it contained was water. When she cooked with the unsuspected ingredient, the family discovered the delightful sweet taste of maple sap.
Now, maple producers across New York State celebrate the arrival of spring and maple sap collecting season with Maple Weekend, which will be held this year on March 19-20 and March 26-27. The event is free, fun and educational for the whole family because at each participating producer, you’ll have a chance to watch the process of maple sugaring, from tapping the tree through to boiling the maple sap down into syrup. This is a long process because it takes 45 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup! You’ll discover that some producers continue to use the traditional method of bucket and spigot, called a “spile”, while others have adopted more contemporary and efficient methods involving vacuum pumps and plastic tubing that leads to a central collection location.
Many of the locations also offer traditional pancake breakfasts with prices varying by location.
Because there are over 100 participants across the state, I won’t list them here, but you can discover the maple syrup producers nearest you by clicking on the following link and looking up participants in your county: Maple Weekend Participants by County.
Click on the following link to discover the closest pancake breakfast: Maple Weekend Pancake Breakfasts.
The event runs on March 19-20 and March 26-27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, but times for some participants may vary, so be sure to confirm hours for the destination you plan to visit.