Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752|
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377
March 17, 2016
State Agriculture Commissioner Encourages New Yorkers to Enjoy One of the State’s Sweetest Products during Upcoming ‘Maple Weekends’
Maple Farms Open Statewide to Show How Tree Sap Becomes Delicious Syrup
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today encouraged New Yorkers to take part in some of the upcoming events marking the annual Maple Weekends across the state. Maple Weekend events take place at scores of maple farms in 45 upstate counties on the weekends of March 19 and 20 and April 2 and 3 this year as maple farmers highlight an industry that is #2 in the nation in the production of syrup.
Commissioner Ball said, “Maple syrup is not only our sweetest crop, but it’s also the first crop of the new year. Our state’s maple farmers do an outstanding job and Maple Weekends give all of us an opportunity to visit a farm and see how they turn tree sap into syrup, candy, and so much more. They are a very important part of our state’s agricultural economy and I encourage everyone to visit a farm near you this year.”
New York is the nation’s second-largest producer of maple syrup. In 2015, farmers produced more than 600,000 gallons of syrup, the highest amount produced in 70 years, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
This year, approximately 160 maple farms and museums across the state are opening their doors on Maple Weekends. Those farms and museums stretch from Yorktown Heights in Westchester County to Amherst in Erie County to Chateaugay in northern Franklin County. They demonstrate the syrup-making process, offer tours, provide pancake breakfasts, and sell delicious maple products. An unusual warm spell this winter has given farmers an early start on sap production.
Many farmers have moved away from the age-old system of hanging buckets on taps in favor of modern methods of production using vacuum systems to automatically transport sap to the boilers that reduce raw sap to syrup. It can take 40 gallons of sap or more to make one gallon of pure syrup.
Commissioner Ball and Department staff will attend celebrations on several farms across the state:
- Friday, March 18 – 12 p.m. at Grottoli’s Maple, 91 Ritchie Road, Middle Granville (Washington County)
- Saturday, March 19 – 10:30 a.m. at Pierce’s Sugar Spigot, 11603 Route 812, Croghan (Lewis County)
- Sunday, March 20 – 10 a.m. at Shaver-Hill Maple Farm in Harpersfield (Delaware County)
- Sunday, April 3 – 11 a.m. at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, Verona (Oneida County)
Governor Cuomo’s commitment to agriculture shows in the state’s promotion of maple products through programs like the Taste NY initiative. Travelers can find New York maple products at every Taste NY store, which are located in Thruway rest stops, transportation hubs like Grand Central Station, and at special events such as the Great New York State Fair. The New York State Maple Producers Association also operates one of the busiest booths at the Fair: the Maple Center in the Horticulture building, which features maple syrup, candy, popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream.
Helen Thomas, Executive Director of the New York State Maple Producers Association said, “Maple season may be “short and sweet” this year, but Maple Weekend is still the best place to taste New York syrup at its freshest and in its many forms. Producers who are fully or mostly completed with the tapping process simply are able to dedicate that much more time to their visitors.”
“Maple Weekend is a great opportunity to showcase our FFA members and maple program to the general public. It provides a perfect venue to support local agriculture and the first crop of a new agriculture season. It’s an honor to have Commissioner Ball and other state and regional dignitaries participate in our Maple Weekend celebration,” said Keith Scheibel, agriculture teacher at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School.
“Maple production has the potential to be a $10 million industry for Northern New York. Maple Weekends provide the opportunity for producers across the six-county region to showcase their operations, from traditional horse-drawn bucket collection to ultramodern tubing and reverse osmosis systems, and to highlight the product innovation that makes this region a maple sugaring powerhouse for New York State,” said Michele Ledoux, who works with maple researchers and producers through the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program and is executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County.
A searchable list of Maple Weekend events can be found at www.MapleWeekend.com or by installing the NYS Maple Weekend app, available from the major phone app stores. Those interested in the history of maple farming can also visit the American Maple Museum in Croghan, Lewis County.
2016 Press Releases