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North country maple producers celebrate with open houses

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Curious about how sap from maple trees gets transformed into maple syrup, candy, cream and other sweet treats?

To help celebrate the state’s annual Maple Weekend, 14 maple producers in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties will host open houses Saturday and Sunday and March 23 and 24. Most will demonstrate the syrup-making process and have products available for sampling and sale. Some sites will offer activities such as horse and wagon rides, walks in the woods, buggy rides and face painting.

Activities are free and run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, but not all producers are open all four days.

Michael R. and Debra J. Kenny are looking forward to showing visitors their Sweeter Creations Sugar House, 348 Pearson Road, Madrid.

The couple will display three types of sap collection: traditional buckets, vacuum drain tubing and pipeline tubing that relies on gravity. It takes about 42 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup.

“We have old traditional methods as well as advanced methods,” Mr. Kenny said. “I have been doing this since I was six years old and I’ve never outgrown it. It’s a labor of love.”

Mrs. Kenny said Maple Weekend events give people a chance to enjoy the warming weather, learn something different and meet new people.

”The weather that’s coming looks very promising right now,” said Nadeen R. Lyndaker, president of the Lewis County Maple Producers Association, which also includes syrup-makers from Jefferson, Oswego and Oneida counties.

Local producers began tapping last week, and a few even began boiling then, Mrs. Lyndaker said.

“I haven’t heard too much of the sugar content,” she said. “It’s way too early for that.”

However, there appears to be ample moisture for a good season, Mrs. Lyndaker said.

“Maple Weekend provides an easy and enjoyable, free, family-oriented opportunity to see how New York maple producers make some of the world’s finest syrup and related products,” said Michele E. Ledoux, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County.

On both weekends, the American Maple Museum on Main Street in Croghan will host educational and hands-on demonstrations with assistance from the Beaver River Central School FFA chapter.

The museum will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Maple Weekend day, with pancake breakfasts from 7 a.m. to noon.

The weekends are sponsored by the New York State Maple Producers Association and take place at about 140 locations. Last year, the state had about 2 million taps, making it the second largest maple-producing state in the country.

Maple producers that are hosting events are listed by county at www.mapleweekend.com. Following are north country participants in the state’s annual Maple Weekend.

ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY

nWoody’s Maple, James Woodrow, 418 Underwood Road, Hermon. Demonstrations will include gathering sap, boiling of syrup, maple cotton, maple sugar and cream. Antiques will be on display in the sugarhouse. Open March 16, 17, 23, 24. Phone: 347-2395; Email: jjaw@tds.net.

■ Fine-n-Dandy, Donald E. Finen, 2620 County Route 35, Norwood. Open March 23, 24. Phone: 528-4700; 388-4149. Email: findandy@twcny.rr.com. Website: www.slcmaple.com/114/fine-n-dandy

■ Finen Maple Products, James J. and Margaret W. Finen, 529 Austin Ridge Road, Norwood. Open, March 16, 17, 23. Phone 240-405-2231; 301-524-8628. Email: finenmapel@gmail.com. Website: www.finenmapleproducts.com.

■ Sweeter Creations Sugar House, Michael and Debra Kenny, 348 Pearson Road, Madrid. Open March 16, 17, 23, 24. Phone: 322-5535; Email: Blondie8363@gmail.com.

■ Orebed Sugar Shack, Jeff and Lori Jenness, 503 Orebed Road, DeKalb Junction. Open March, 16, 17, 23, 24. Phone: 347-3415; 528-2450. Email: orebedsugarshack@tds.net. Website: www.orebedmaplesugarshack.com.

■ Tupper’s Hilltop Maple Treats, Kenneth and Jean Tupper, 760 Route 68, Canton. Open, March 16 and 17. Phone: 386-2162. Email: jean_tupper@yahoo.com. Website: www.slcmaple.com.

JEFFERSON COUNTY

■ Massey Ranch, Shawn Massey, 20605 Combs Road, Watertown. Open, March 16, 17, 23, 24. Phone: 786-2050; 783-5586. Email: shawn@masseysfurniturebarn.com.

■ Rudd’s Family Maple Syrup; Larry Rudd, 16370 Balch Place, Mannsville. Open March 16, 17, 23, 24. Phone: 465-4491; 408-8525. Email: ruddsmaple@yahoo.com.

■ Tug Hill Sweets & Treats, Wayne and Glenn Zehr, 33871 County Route 163, Copenhagen. Open March 16, 17, 23, 24. Phone: 408-8100; 941-4523. Email: tug hillsweetsandtreats.com.

LEWIS COUNTY

■ Moser’s Mapleridge Farm, Lyndon and Patti Moser, 3981 Wilson Road, Copenhagen. Open March 16, 23. Phone: 688-2518; Email: lpmoser@gmail.com.

■ Oswegatchie Educational Center, Jamie Thibodeau, 9340 Long Pond Road, Croghan. Open March 16, 17, 23, 24. Phone: 346-1222. Email: jthigbodeau@oswegatchie.org.

■ Pierce’s Sugar Spigot, Ken and Carl Pierce, 11603 Route 812, Croghan. Open March 16, 17, 23, 24. Phone: 543-2980; 286-7999, Email: kapierce3@hotmail.com. Website: www.ICida.org/sspigot.html.

■ Swiss’er Sweet Maple, Jason and Barbara Zehr, 6242 Swiss Road, Castorland. Open March 16, 17, 23, 24. Phone 346-1034, 286-1095. Email: www.swissersweetmaple.com.

■ Yancey’s Sugarbush, Haskell, Jane and Timothy Yancey, 7981 Long Pond Road, Croghan. Open March 23, 24. Phone: 346-6356; Email: janeyancey@frontier.com.

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