Jessica A. Chittenden|
March 12, 2008
Commissioner Hooker Celebrates NY’s Maple Season
"Maple Weekend" in New York Scheduled for March 29-30
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.
"The maple season is off to a good start in New York," the Commissioner said. "The weather has been perfect for sap to run with frosty nights and warm sunny days, and most producers in the State were able to make their first gallons of syrup last weekend."
"Maple producers will be boiling maple sap to make maple syrup over the next month, which is a tradition in my family and in many other families in Upstate New York. The work is rewarding and the product is extraordinary. I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of the upcoming Maple Weekend to see and taste for yourself one of nature’s sweetest treats, maple syrup."
To celebrate New York’s maple season, the industry is hosting its 13th Annual Maple Weekend on March 29-30, 2008. Over the course of the weekend, 110 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.
David Campbell, President of the New York State Maple Producers Association, said, "Maple producers throughout New York State are looking forward to a good year. Most have started boiling and some have a good quantity of syrup in jugs already. The sights and smells of sugar making is something everyone should experience and therefore, as an industry, we are inviting the public to visit a local sugar houses on Maple Weekend to experience this legendary process in person."
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 Lacey Pitman 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 21 – Mapleland Farms, Salem (Washington County)
March 29 – American Maple Museum, Croghan (Lewis County)
March 30 – Vernon-Verona-Sherrill FFA, Verona (Oneida 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 days and cold 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.
Last year’s maple season ran from March 11 until April 9. With 1.47 million taps, maple producers were able to gather an average of 0.152 gallons of sap per tap, and make 224,000 gallons, 11 percent less than the previous year due to extended warm and cold periods. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
New York’s 1,500 maple producers generated $8.02 million in sales in 2006. 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.
PHOTOGRAPHS: Photos of tree tapping and sap boiling are available upon request by emailing email@example.com
2008 Press Releases