From the Digital Editor for Adirondack Harvest, Mary Godnick. This story was originally published in 2021. It was updated in 2022 to reflect current events and happenings.
New York State is the second-largest producer of maple syrup in the United States, producing 820,000 gallons of syrup per year. “Maple season” refers to the time when the sap is collected and maple products are made during the months of February, March, and April for about a month and a half.
Sugar Maple trees move sugary water through the trunk called sap when the temperatures reach above 40°F during the day and below 32°F at night. The freezing and thawing temperature fluctuations push sap through the tree so that it has the nutrients needed to grow. Maple producers then collect the sap through holes in the trees. The 2% sugar water “sap” is then heated to distill the solution down to a syrup or granulated sugar. It takes 40 gallons of sap (and a lot of time) to make just one gallon of maple syrup.
The Adirondacks are maple heaven! Sugar maple trees are native to hardwood forests in the Northeast, and late-winter temperatures are ideal for sap collection. Maple collection has been an integral part of Adirondack history for thousands of years, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people have been making and eating maple sugar prior to European migrants.
5 Ways to Experience ADK Maple
Maple is not only incredibly delicious, but it also connects us with the seasons and land. You are literally drinking the nectar of the Adirondack forests and waters that you love. Maple making is a precious Adirondack tradition, and we hope that you will join us in enjoying everything maple the region has to offer during this special season.
Please follow COVID-19 precautions, wear a mask, wash your hands, physically distance, and make reservations ahead of time.
1. See how maple is made
Join the New York Maple Weekends through March 26 - 27, 2022, and visit maple producers throughout Upstate New York and the Adirondacks. Tastings, markets, pancake breakfasts, and sugarbush tours are available across the Adirondacks. See how maple is made from tree to plate.
2. Maple for breakfast and lunch
Make a reservation at the new Essex Ice Cream Cafe in Essex, NY. This small cafe recently re-opened and serves home-style breakfast, brunch, and lunch made with fresh, delicious ingredients. You can enjoy pancakes, french toast, waffles and much more with local maple syrup from Spring Hill Farm just down the road in Westport, NY.
3. Drink more maple
Maple syrup has more calcium ounce-for-ounce than milk. We aren’t suggesting that you have a glass of maple every morning, but if you need another reason to enjoy a splash of it here and there, we’re happy to provide the facts.
The Deer’s Head Inn in Elizabethtown offers unique cocktails with local maple, like their Deer’s Head Margarita and local twist on the Manhattan.
Local distiller Murray's Fools Distilling Company makes carefully crafted brandy, whiskey, vodka, and other spirits that pair well with the sweet toasty flavor of local maple. You can find their offerings at several regional liquor stores, and make one of their maple-inspired cocktail recipes. Available at Homestead Spirits in Westport, NY, and other local liquor stores.
4. Pack a maple-themed picnic
A visit to the Champlain Valley isn’t complete without a stop at the Hub on the Hill in Essex, NY. Pack a picnic lunch for your day around the Adirondacks. Treat yourself to a bag of Triple Green Jade’s Five Seeded Maple Krakkers, a block of Asgaard Farm Cheese, and apples from Northern Orchard Co. for a good meal on the go. The Hub also offers local delivery to your door, online ordering, and curbside pick-up.
A little further south, Mountain Weaver’s Farmstore in Port Henry, NY is also a great stop for local maple goodies. Stock up on supplies for your fridge, and find the perfect handmade basket for your picnic. We love North Country Creamery’s Maple Yogurt and Hub on the Hill’s homemade cinnamon maple granola for breakfast or dessert. They are now offering curbside pick-up, online ordering, and local delivery. They also accept SNAP and P-EBT benefits.
5. Maple to your Door
There are so many ways to enjoy Adirondack region maple from home. Many maple producers have online ordering and will ship products directly to your door year-round.
Start planning your next sweet food adventure to the Lake Champlain Region today!