Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

March 16, 2009

Commissioner Hooker to Celebrate NY’s Maple Season

"Maple Weekend" in New York Scheduled for March 21-22, 28-29

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 states in the nation fortunate enough to produce pure maple syrup," the Commissioner said. "It is a truly unique commodity with a rich heritage here in New York, providing a wonderful topping for pancakes, serving as a substitute for sugar in recipes, and is a great family activity whether making it yourself or simply observing the process. Collecting sap and boiling it into maple syrup is also big business here in New York, providing an essential added income for many farm operations and rural families. So join in the fun and the tradition of maple syrup these next two weekends and experience this terrific treat for yourself!"

To celebrate New York’s maple season, the industry is hosting its 14th Annual Maple Weekend on March 21-22 and March 28-29, 2009. Over the course of the two weekends, 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

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 to tap a ceremonial maple tree, discuss the importance of New York’s maple industry and enjoy local maple products, including pancakes, maple candy and ice cream with maple syrup.

March 21 – Rathbun’s Maple Sugar House, Whitehall (Washington County)

March 22 – Shaver Hill Farm, Harpersfield (Delaware County)

March 28 – St. Lawrence County Learning Farm & Education Center, Canton

March 29 – 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 8 until April 8. With 1.48 million taps, maple producers were able to make 322,000 gallons, 44 percent more than the previous year due to a nearly perfect season of cold nights and warm days. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.

New York maple syrup accounts for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s maple production, ranking New York second for production and value. In 2007, New York’s 1,500 maple producers generated $7.5 million in sales in 2007.

PHOTOGRAPHS: Photos of tree tapping and sap boiling are available upon request by emailing

2009 Press Releases