Maple season underway in the North Country
While the snow begins to melt, the sap begins to flow. Local maple producers are busy catching the sap and turning it into a favorite condiment. YNN’s Barry Wygel takes a look at how maple syrup is made and the outlook for this year's harvest.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. -- For Jeff Janness, the last 25 years have been all about maple.
"We have maple cream, which is a favorite, or maple butter, you could call it. We have maple candies, maple lollipops and maple granulated brown sugar," said Janness, Orebed Sugar Shack.
At the Orebed Sugar Shack, Jeff and his family operate a high tech maple farm.
"In January, you're back in the woods again, working on your lines, getting ready to tap your trees," he explained.
What sets Orebed apart is its use of vacuum lines. Instead of hanging buckets on the trees to collect sap, a pump sucks the sap into large tanks, allowing them to have many more trees. From there, the sap travels through more tubes to be boiled down into syrup.
"In the last ten years things have really changed. Things have gotten better...but they aren't any cheaper," said Janness.
And while maple production can happen on a large scale with expensive equipment, it doesn't have to be. It can also be done as a hobby, with equipment and trees being passed down generation to generation.
"There's a lot of hobby people. A lot of hobby people. But a lot of it is tradition, their families did it, my father did it,” said Janness.
And even the larger farms, started small.
"We were hobby people. 50 taps, 75 taps, then 200 taps, then 500. It's a disease,” Janness said.
If you don't want to make your own maple syrup, but still want to satisfy your sweet tooth, Orebed has a solution.
"We will have samples, lots of samples of stuff that is all made with maple sugar. Maple syrup, maple sugar, there will be cookies and cakes."
Orebed has a shop where they sell their maple delights year round.
New York will be hosting Maple Weekend on March 16th and 17th, and 23rd and 24th across the state. For more information on the event and to find a farm near you, visit mapleweekend.com.