March 19, 2010
Commissioner Hooker Celebrates Maple Season in New York
"Maple Weekend" in New York Scheduled for March 20-21, 27-28
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker will be celebrating New York’s maple season this weekend and next at Maple Weekend events throughout the 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 early arrival of spring here in New York presents the perfect opportunity for farmers to collect and boil sap from the abundance of sugar maple trees that grow naturally here in New York State,” the Commissioner said. “The production of maple syrup is a truly unique commodity with a rich heritage here in New York, providing a wonderful topping for pancakes and ice cream, serving as a substitute for sugar in recipes, and is a great family activity, whether making it yourself or simply observing the process. These next two weekends celebrate the tradition of making maple syrup here in New York, and I invite you to take your family to one of New York’s many sugarhouses and experience this terrific treat for yourself!”
To celebrate New York’s maple season, the industry is hosting its 15th Annual Maple Weekend on March 20-21 and March 27-28, 2010. Over the course of the two weekends, 150 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.
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 5 until April 4. With 1.51 million taps, maple producers were able to make 362,000 gallons. 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 third. In 2008, New York’s 1,500 maple producers generated $13.9 million in sales.
PHOTOGRAPHS: Photos of tree tapping and sap boiling are available upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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