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March 20, 2015
State Agriculture Commissioner Encourages New Yorkers to Attend Maple Weekend Events during the Next Two Weekends
Maple Weekend celebration events kick off today and continue March 21-22 and March 28-29
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today encouraged New Yorkers to take time over the next two weekends to enjoy the state’s sweetest season, as the state’s maple syrup producers open their farms for tours and sales for the annual Maple Weekend celebrations. At Maple Weekend events, held during the weekends of March 21-22 and March 28-29, visitors can see first-hand how farmers draw raw sap from maple trees into their “sugar houses” and boil the sap down into sweet maple syrup.
Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Maple is the first crop of the year and also undoubtedly one of the tastiest. Every year, our state’s maple syrup is gaining popularity with consumers from all over the globe. Maple Weekend is a fun and informative way for New Yorkers to learn about this essential part of New York agriculture.”
As part of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to promoting New York agriculture, New York maple syrup is available in every Taste NY store in the state. The Governor began the Taste NY initiative to link consumers to the best food and beverages grown and made in New York. Maple products also play a prominent role at the state’s largest agricultural event, the Great New York State Fair, where the maple center in the Horticulture Building often sees long lines of people waiting for maple cotton candy, maple ice cream, maple popcorn, candy, syrup, and other products.
New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball will travel the state on the two Maple Weekends and attend events on three maple farms:
- Saturday, March 21 – 11 a.m. at Moser’s Maple in Croghan
- Sunday, March 22 – 1 p.m. at Shaver-Hill Maple Farm in Harpersfield
- Sunday, March 29 – 11 a.m. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School in Verona
The New York State Maple Producers Association created Maple Weekend to highlight the importance of the maple industry as part of New York’s agricultural economy. New York remains the second largest producer of maple syrup in America, at an estimated 546,000 gallons of syrup drawn from more than 2.2 million tree taps, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service 2014 survey of maple farmers. There are as many as 2,000 maple farms in 54 of the state’s counties.
Maple Weekend events run from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day on each farm. In addition to demonstrations of the maple syrup-making process, farms offer free pancake breakfasts and may also offer seminars and workshops as well as a wide range of maple products and memorabilia.
Helen Thomas, Executive Director of the New York State Maple Producers Association, said, “Spring is late this year but it is now slowly arriving. All over New York State, maple sugar makers are watching their maples wake up and begin to produce the liquid sap that makes delicious maple syrup. We hope for a slow warmup and a season that produces lots of quality New York maple. Come to our farms and watch it being made.”
Keith Scheibel, agriculture teacher at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, said, “This is the first harvest of the new year. Seeing maple sap turned into sugar is an opportunity for people to connect to food. It highlights the importance of food and agriculture in our lives.” The school’s Future Farmers of America organization is in the midst of its maple harvest.
Vernon Duesler, III, Owner of Mud Road Sugar House in Ephratah, said, “New York maple syrup is an all-natural product, no artificial sweeteners. I love to watch the expressions on the faces of people as they try it for the first time. They watch what we do to make syrup and say, ‘I didn’t think it took that much to make syrup.’ People are pretty amazed.”
Dwayne Hill, of Shaver-Hill Maple Farm in Harpersfield, said, “People think we drill a hole in a tree and syrup comes out. We show the whole process of making syrup. People can enjoy some real maple syrup when it’s all over, and it’s a product that’s good for you, with vitamins, minerals, and nothing artificial added.”
Dale Moser, owner of Moser’s Maple in Croghan and director of the American Maple Museum, said, “So many people do not know what real maple syrup is. At our farm, they can see the complete process. We explain everything, from the tap to the product on the dinner table. People are learning about the health benefits of pure maple syrup and maple sugar over processed white sugar.”
For more information on Maple Weekend events throughout New York State, please visit http://www.nysmaple.com/nys-maple-weekend/.
2015 Press Releases