LAKE PLACID-They are working on improving the process of bringing maple syrup from the tap to the table, and over the next two weekends, they want you to take a look.
Cornell University's Uihlein Forest Sugar Maple Research and Extension Field Station is one of several producers in the region who will be hosting an open house during the New York State Maple Weekends on March 19-20 and March 26-27.
"There will be some different businesses and groups who we are working with for events over the weekends," Michael Farrell, Uihlein Forest Director, said. "We have some ample-themed products and events and there will also be kids going around and collecting sap in buckets."
While visitors are greeted by two buckets as they enter onto the "sugarbush" at the Lake Placid site, the 200-acre Uihlein Forest uses modern technology to bring the sap to them through a system of tubes and vacuums.
Farrell said that the main goal of the site is to help find better and more efficient ways to produce and harvest sap.
"We do research into all aspects of the maple industry," Farrell said. "We look at sap collection methods, boiling, tree health, forest management and anything else that we can look at to help promote the industry."
During a guided tour March 11, Farrell also fired up the site's new reverse-osmosis boiler for the purposes of making maple syrup for the first time.
During the maple weekends, visitors will have a guided tour of the entire syrup production process, beginning in the sugarbush, where the sap is collected, and ending in the sugarhouse where people can see, smell, and taste fresh maple syrup being made. Visitors will also learn about ongoing research projects and a variety of maple products will be available for sale in the gift shop.
The sugarhouse can be reached by calling 523-9337, through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting the Web site, www.cornellmaple.com.
In Clinton County, Brow's Sugarhouse at 89 Sugarbush Dr. in West Chazy will be offering free tours of the sugarhouse showing how maple products are made on both weekends.
Wayne Brow, who has been working with maple sugar for 31 years, emphasized the importance of customer education.
"We want to educate the people about maple syrup, show them how it's made, and let them know why it's important," explained Brow. "It's a totally natural product. All we do is take water out of the sap," he said.
Contact them at 493-5683 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
At the Parker Family Maple Farm located at 1043 Slosson Road in West Chazy, there will be a pancake breakfast all four days of Maple Weekends, sponsored by the Northern Tier snow-runners. there will also be horse-drawn wagon rides, a small petting zoo and maple product demonstrations. The gift shop will be open with items like cotton candy, complimentary maple coffee and maple syrup.
Patricia Parker, of Parker Family Maple Farm, is particularly excited about the old fashioned maple syrup demonstrations that will occur during Maple Weekend.
"This year we're going to do something really different. We're going to have maple syrup made the old fashioned way, with a cauldron, and wooden buckets," said Parker.
A fifth generation maple business owner, Parker noted the business is very much a family endeavor.
"We take pride in [maple syrup production] - it's not just a business, it's a family history," she said.
"We've always done maple weekends - this is what we do," added Parker.
Contact them at 493-6761 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Admission to all Maple Weekend events is free. For more information on sites and events, visit www.mapleweekend.com.
- Mary Weinstein contributed to this article.