Agriculture_Markets
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
 
   
Jessica A. Chittenden
518-457-3136
jessica.chittenden@agriculture.ny.gov


March 12, 2007

Commissioner Hooker Celebrates NY’s Maple Season

"Maple Weekend" in New York Scheduled for March 17-18, 24-25

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the arrival of maple season in New York State. New York State has approximately 1,500 maple producers that are currently collecting sap and making maple syrup, the State’s first agricultural product of the year.

"New York is one of the few places that is fortunate enough to have an abundance of sugar maples and the right climate to make one of nature’s sweetest treats, maple syrup," the Commissioner said. "As a maple producer myself, I couldn’t be more proud of the flavor and quality of maple syrup produced here."

"Over the next two weekends, maple producers across the State will be opening their doors for Maple Weekend to entice you to learn more about this very special commodity. I want to encourage you to stop by your local sugar house and take a peek for yourself – the process is fascinating and the product is even more outstanding."

To celebrate New York’s maple season, the industry is hosting "Maple Weekend," which will run March 17 – 18, and March 24 – 25, 2007. Over the course of the next two weekends, over 120 sugarhouses across the State will open their doors to the public in an effort to share with New Yorkers the process of syrup making from tree to table. The public is invited to take free, self-guided tours and see the process first hand between 10 am and 4 pm. Some sugarhouses offer pancake breakfasts, gift shops and horse-drawn sleigh rides as well. For more information and for a list of participating sugar houses, visit http://www.mapleweekend.com.

Dwayne Hill, President of the New York State Maple Producers Association, said, "We are pleased to sponsor Maple Weekend for the 12th consecutive year. This is a great opportunity for New Yorkers to learn more about New York's maple industry and get to taste for themselves true sweetness. This is a fun-filled family spring time event that brings the community together and also promotes how New York maple syrup is produced."

The Commissioner will make several stops throughout the State in celebration of the State’s maple industry. At each location, the Commissioner will join fellow maple producers, local leaders and the New York State Maple Queen Courtney Donnelly to tap a ceremonial maple tree, discuss the importance of New York’s maple industry and enjoy local maple products, including a pancake brunch, maple candy and ice cream with maple syrup.

March 16 – Grottoli’s Maple, Middle Granville (Washington County)

March 17 – Shaver Hill Farm, Harpersfield (Delaware County)

March 18 – Vernon-Verona-Sherrill FFA, Verona (Oneida County)

March 24 – Swiss’er Sweet Maple, Castorland (Lewis County)

Tapping sugar maple trees has been a long tradition in New York State, and legend has it the first tree was mistakenly tapped by a Native American chief practicing tomahawk throwing. Warm, sunny days and cold, frosty nights are ideal for sap flow, and therefore, the typical sugaring season usually runs from late February through early April. The harvest season ends with the coming of spring’s warm nights and the first stages of bud development on the trees.

The unusual weather patterns last year created a short season and inconsistent sap flow for maple producers in New York State, resulting in a maple season that ran from March 7 until April 3. Most sugar makers did have one solid week of ideal temperatures. With 1.53 million taps, maple producers were able to gather an average of 0.165 gallons of sap per tap. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.

In 2006, New York maple syrup production was estimated at 253,000 gallons, up 14 percent from the previous year. New York maple sales generated $7.04 million in 2005. New York State is the third largest state for maple syrup production, behind Vermont and Maine; and is ranked second in value behind Vermont.

The Pride of New York program promotes New York maple syrup and numerous other State-grown or processed food and agricultural products. The program is a voluntary, member-based initiative that includes nearly 2,000 of the State’s growers, food processors, vineyards, retail outlets, agri-tourism initiatives and organizations that support New York agriculture.

Members of the Pride of New York use the program’s emblem on their products, such as maple syrup. Pride of New York maple producers can be easily located by visiting the Pride of New York website at http://www.prideofny.com/


2007 Press Releases