Mar. 15—Maple producers across the region are digging out from a late season snowstorm to get ready to host families at their saphouses this weekend.
Jason Jordan, owner of Off Road Maple, was outside plowing, his wife, Diane Jordan, said Wednesday morning, March 15.
The state Maple Producers' Association sponsors the Maple Weekends, where producers open their saphouses to show visitors how maple syrup is produced. This year, the open houses will be held March 18, 19, 25 and 26.
"It's really good for kids and people who have never seen how maple syrup is processed from start to finish," Diane said. It's always fun to see how far away people come from to take the tour."
She said they will give tours of the sap house on Blue School Road in Franklin from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all four days and will offer an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their farm at 195 Pomeroy Road in Franklin. She said the tour is free, but the breakfast is $9 per person and children younger than 5 will be admitted free.
"It's a tree-to-table experience," she said. "People can tour the sap house to learn how syrup is made, then go and eat the product."
She said her husband has been producing maple syrup since he was a kid helping his grandfather and then father. "It's been a lifelong passion," she said. They started their business in 2018 and went from producing 25 gallons of syrup to 500 gallons, she said.
According to a media release from Gov. Kathy Hochul's office, state maple producers experienced a record-breaking year in 2022, producing 845,000 gallons of maple syrup, and the state is home to the largest resource of tappable maple trees within the United States.
"Maple production in New York is thriving as the industry continues to set records and ranks second in the nation in this sweet crop," Hochul said in the release. "I thank our producers who work hard to make the delicious, innovative and unique maple products we all enjoy, and encourage all New Yorkers to take part in Maple Weekends this month to sample some of the world-class items that local vendors have to offer."
In addition to selling maple syrup, maple cream and maple coffee at their farm, Diane said they sell their products at the Franklin Farmers Market during the summer.
Diane said "Jason is in charge of the production, but said it's been a good year so far. He said he had a really good February."
According to Aaron Wightman, co-director of the Cornell Maple Program and a New York state maple specialist, "Maple sugaring season is off to an early start in the southern half of New York state with many producers reporting a larger than average crop in February. Some producers in the southern half of the state have already passed 50% of their season goal, while the Adirondacks remained mostly cold through this same period with little syrup production."
Off Road Maple is one of several maple producers in Delaware County that will open their saphouses for tours. The others are Brookside Maple, Catskill Mountain Maple and Dar-View Maple in DeLancey, Kenneth Burger Farm in Margaretville, Maplewood Farm & Orchard in Bovina Center, Roxbury Mountain Maple in Hobart and Shaver-Hill Maple Farm in Harpersfield. Four maple producers — Buck Hill Farm and Thompson's Sugar Shack in Jefferson, Maple Hill Farms in Cobleskill and Two Saps Syrup in Central Bridge — in Schoharie County will also participate, although Thompson's Sugar Shack will only give tours the first weekend.
For more information, visit mapleweekend.com.
Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7221.