From the Digital Editor for Adirondack Harvest, Mary Godnick
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.
How maple is made
Sugar maple trees move sugary water called sap through the trunk when the temperatures reach above 40 degrees F during the day and below 32 degrees 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.
Why 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 long before European migrants.
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. Pancake breakfast on the farm
Watch how maple is made in the sugar shack, walk the on-site nature trail, then join the DaCy Meadow Farm family for a pancake breakfast on the farm. They will be serving brunch every Sunday in March from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
2. Maple for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
Get your maple goodies for the ferry at Essex Eats in Essex, NY. This little cafe, shop, and to-go restaurant offers an ever-changing menu based on what is in season in the region. Stop and grab one of their maple walnut cookies with a bowl of hot soup and a sandwich for your ferry ride to Vermont or NY explorations.
Our favorite Friday night pizza spot is still open for take-out and to-go grocery items. Dogwood Bread Company in Wadhams is offering call-in or online ordering and pick-up. Add a few grocery items, like Spring Hill Farm maple cream, maple mustard, or maple jelly to your order when you pick up your Friday night pizza.
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.
Make a reservation at Ledge Hill Brewing Company to enjoy their latest local brews in their cozy tasting room, or out by the fire. Their new Reverb Porter is a collaboration with Echo Farm that uses 100% organic ingredients and features hops and maple syrup from the farm, which is only a few miles from the brewery. Order online or stop by during business hours anytime to pick up cans or bottles to-go.
Local distiller Murrays 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, including Homestead Spirits in Westport, and make one of their maple-inspired cocktail recipes.
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 Farm’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
If you’re trying to avoid going out to eat or visiting more businesses than strictly essential, 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.
Start planning your next food adventure to the Lake Champlain Region today!