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March 16, 2018 - 5:57pm

Maple Weekend kicks off Saturday, runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on two consecutive weekends

Information provided by the Western New York Maple Producers Association.

This weekend and next weekend (March 17-18 & 24-25) is Maple Weekend as the sweet tradition continues. Two of the many maple producers in the region are in Genesee County and will be participating from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. They are:

  • Randall's Maple Products, located at 10307 Smithley Road in Alexander;
  • Sweet Dream Maple Farm, located at 1116 Reynolds Road in Corfu.

According to the Maple Producers Association, maple syrup has become a powerhouse crop for New York State farmers. In the last decade, production of syrup has tripled, while the crop value has quadrupled.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NY Maple Producers manufactured 760,000 gallons of maple syrup last year, the highest production rate ever. It's an increase of 7.5 percent from the previous year.

The 2016 crop in New York was valued at $31.3 million, with an estimated economic impact of almost $141 million. The value for the 2017 crop will be released in June.

There's plenty of room to expand production because the U.S. Forestry Service data shows that more tappable maple trees are in New York than any other state in America.

The 22nd annual Maple Weekend is family friendly and free to the public. Take a tour and learn about tree tapping and boiling, see displays and best of all -- taste some of America's greatest maple syrup.

A complete list of participating sugarhouses, site maps and more information about Maple Weekend can be found here.

How Sap Becomes Syrup

Syrup is produced as the sugar maple holds starches in storage during the winter, which change to sugars as spring approaches. These sugars are released into the tree sap.

When a tree is tapped, a clear liquid runs out. When that liquid is boiled down, approximately 44 gallons of the sap produces a gallon of maple syrup.

Techniques vary from producer to producer -- some use state-of-the-art methods while others are traditionalists.

During Maple Weekend, many maple producers also offer additional activities including horse and wagon rides, snowshoeing, guided walks in the woods and kids' corners. And across Western New York, all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts will abound over the next two consecutive weekends.

Did You Know?

Also, there's more to maple syrup than its delicious taste. University of Rhode Island researchers recently found 20 compounds in maple syrup that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to help fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses. Other established health benefits of pure maple syrup include its calcium and potassium content -- a quarter cup of maple syrup has more calcium that the same amount of milk and more potassium than a banana.

New York is the second-largest maple producing state in the nation, with 2.65 million taps, producing 760,000 gallons of syrup, and accounting for 18 percent of the maple syrup in the United States in 2017.

Besides pure maple syrup, products that contain maple syrup include: maple cream, maple sugar, maple candy, maple jelly, maple mustard, maple tea, maple coffee, maple cotton candy, maple oatmeal bread, maple apple butter, maple walnut fudge, maple suckers and maple butter.

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