March 09, 2011
Commissioner Recognizes The Start Of NY’s Maple Season
"Maple Weekend" in New York Scheduled for March 19-20 and March 26-27
New York State Acting Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine today recognized the start of New York’s maple season, which involves more than 1,500 producers collecting and boiling sap from sugar maple trees to make pure New York maple syrup, the State’s first agricultural product of the year.
“Being from the North Country, March means maple!” the Commissioner said. “Maple production is unique to this region of the country, and New York is blessed with an abundance of sugar maple trees and the right climate to produce high quality maple syrup. Whether on your pancakes or ice cream, there is no substitution for real maple syrup. Take time this month to celebrate this agricultural commodity, learn about the tradition of gathering and boiling sap, and visit one of our many sugarhouses throughout the State.”
To celebrate New York’s maple season, the industry is hosting its 16th Annual Maple Weekend on March 19-20 and March 26-27, 2011. Over the course of the two weekends, more than 100 sugarhouses throughout 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.
New York experienced a short season in 2010, running from March 4 through March 27. In general, temperatures started out too cold for good sap flow and quickly turned too warm. Maple producers only gathered 0.164 gallons of sap per tap, compared to 0.240 gallons in 2009. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. With 1.9 million taps, maple producers in New York made 312,000 gallons in 2010, a 29 percent decrease in production to the exceptional year they experienced in 2009.
New York maple syrup accounts for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s maple production, ranking New York third behind Vermont and Maine respectively. In 2009, New York’s 1,500 maple producers generated $17.8 million in sales.
Consumers can be certain they are purchasing New York maple syrup by looking for maple containers that have either the “Pride of New York” or “New York Maple – Taste the Tradition” emblems, or by visiting a local sugarhouse and purchasing maple products there.
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