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New York Celebrates Maple Weekend 2018

Lucas Willard

An official tree-tapping ceremony was held in Schenectady County today to mark the 2018 maple sugaring season and New York’s Maple Weekend.

New York State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Richard Ball hammered the ceremonial tap into a maple tree in the front yard of Riverside Maple Farms in the Town of Glenville.

“Let the income start flowing!” said Ball.

This weekend, the 17th and 18th, and next weekend, 24th and 25th have each been designated New York’s Maple Weekend. The yearly event is sponsored by the NYS Maple Producers Association.

New York has the second highest output of maple syrup in the United States. Last year, the state set a 73-year record with 760,000 gallons of syrup produced.

Ball is hoping for another stellar season.

“We tap more trees than anyone else in the country. It’s significant but obviously it’s a short season when we get to harvest it but of course it’s something we get to enjoy year-round,” said Ball.

Vermont’s maple syrup output leads the nation. In 2017, the Green Mountain State produced 1.98 million gallons. Vermont is celebrating its Maple Weekend on March 24th and 25th. Massachusetts, which ranks 5th in maple production, is also celebrating the industry this Saturday and Sunday.

Riverside Maple Farms co-owner Erica Welch says every producer has their own techniques. She adds helping the public discover local producers is what makes Maple Weekend exciting.

“A big part of what the Maple Producer’s Association and  Maple Weekend is about is trying to connect the public with all of those different producers and get them to be able to visit different sugar houses and learn about and learn about the different ways that people do it,” said Welch. 

There are about 180 maple farms and museums across New York state that will open their doors for guests to see sugarhouses and maybe enjoy a plate of pancakes.

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Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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