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March 19, 2014

Activities abound at area maple producers

There will be some sweet opportunities around the area the next two weekends at many maple producers.

The New York State Maple Producers Association invites people to learn about the production of maple syrup and related products during Maple Weekend activities that take place March 22 to 23, and 29 to 30. This includes demonstrations and a chance to sample the product. Times may vary so check with local producers. Admission, not including any pancake breakfasts, is free, according to event website.

At Shaver-Hill Farm on 310 Shaver Road in Harpersfield, business partner Dwayne Hill said he was hopeful that the days would be warmer and the nights stay cold so the sap will start flowing better later this week.

“It’s up to mother nature,” he said.

But either way he is ready for activities the next two weekends. This includes pancake breakfasts that run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In the past they have drawn 500 to 600 people. He hoped attendance will match that. The charge for adults is $6, children 6 to 13 $3 and all others are free. Free activities run from 10 to 4 p.m. each day. This includes tree tapping and boiling demonstrations and a chance to sample maple products. Visitors can also take horse-drawn wagon rides to one of the sugar bushes, where they can see a tubing system in operation.

Hill has been in the business for 45 years. He is also president of the state maple association. There are 146 producers participating, which is an increase over last year. As more people turn to natural ingredients, they are increasingly using the product.

With so many untapped maple trees in the state, it has a “bright future,” he said.

Baker’s Maple in Bainbridge is hosting events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the next two weekends. This includes an open house at the Sap House and store on Freiot Avenue. It provides an opportunity to watch the syrup making process, ask questions, and taste samples, owner Reed Baker said. His business has been regularly holding open houses at this time of year.

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