The RuraList: Where To Savor Maple Syrup Season
Thank goodness for maple sugaring season. Its sweetness helps bridge the gap between winter and spring, giving us places to visit and reasons to get out when the weather feels raw and uninviting. Maple Weekend, an official celebration of all things from the sweet sap, is March 18-19 with an additional weekend, March 25-26, in New York State. Here are a few of the many opportunities where you can join the festivities around the region.
And because: maple bacon muffins.
Crown Maple, Dover Plains, NY
Think of a fine winery, with the tastings, elegant store and café, and a beautiful estate to explore. That’s Crown Maple, where the vineyard is a farm and the wine is organic maple syrup. To celebrate New York State’s Maple Weekends, Crown Maple will be featuring complimentary tastings, a maple-inspired lunch, tree tapping demonstrations, open hiking trails and a firepit for roasting marshmallows. There will be maple cotton candy and maple popcorn, and Crown Maple cocktails for the adults.
Maple Weekends: Saturday, March 18-19 and March 25-26 from 10 a.m – 5 p.m.
47 McCourt Road, Dover Plains, NY
To find other places to visit in New York State, check the NYS Maple Weekend website.
Ioka Valley Farm, Hancock, MA
There’s always a lot happening at this spread. Weekend sugarhouse tours and tastings are going on now through April 9. With more than 10,000 taps and 2 modern boilers, the operation is impressive, but the big draw is “Pancake Season” at Ioka’s own joint, the “Calf-A” (which has to be one of the cleverest names ever), serving homemade pancake, waffle and French toast meals accompanied by, of course, pure maple syrup. Sides of bacon and sausage — and desserts — are available, too.
3475 Hancock Rd./Rt. 43, Hancock, MA
For other maple activities in the state, visit the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association website, the organizer of Maple Weekend in Massachusetts, happening March 18-19.
Maple Leaf Sugaring, Ghent, NY
Run by Ben and Veronica Madey, the farm offers tour of the sugaring process from tree to bottle. “The weather this year has been tricky,” Ben says, echoing the sentiments of other maple harvesters. “It warmed up too soon and accelerated the season, but hopefully the recent cold spells will have helped.”
During the maple weekends, the farm will be open and you can sample the maple cotton candy, maple cream and other goodies. Ben suggests you call or email before you come to see if the sugarhouse is boiling — it’s still an informative, fun and tasty tour either way.
93 Dupier Road, Ghent, NY
Sharon Audubon Center — MapleFest 2017, Sharon, CT
Sharon Audubon’s annual MapleFest may be one of the oldest maple celebrations, according to Sean Grace, the center’s director. The popular event offers guided tours through its sugaring operation, including the sugarhouse and a re-creation of Native American and early Colonial sugaring methods. Last year was the first time they held a bake sale, with goodies made by board members and other supporters using Sharon Audubon’s own maple syrup. It sold out, so you might want to get there early before all the baked goods go. Last year’s maple bacon muffins were “to die for,” says Grace.
Rescheduled for Saturday, March 25, noon-4 p.m.
325 Cornwall Bridge Road, Sharon, CT
Admission: $6 adults; $4 children (2 and under free)
For other maple sugaring festivities in Connecticut, check the Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut website.