On February 23, the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, in cooperation with the Adirondack Museum, will be demonstrating regional maple sugaring artifacts. For local residents there is a free pancake breakfast and sugaring workshop that will focus on the Northern NY Maple Project.
The Northern NY Maple Project began as a cooperative partnership between the Wild Center, Paul Smith’s VIC and Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program at Uihlien. Last May the maple season ended with The Wild Center collecting 5,635.8 gallons of sap over 55 days from 53 households with 519 taps and made 121 gallons of local maple syrup.
When I first moved to the area I took a workshop from Cornell Cooperative Extension even though I thought I had a good handle on how to go about turning maple sap into syrup. The most important pieces of information I brought home were the shared stories of what not to do.
If you can’t be part of the local community maple project, but are interested in trying sugaring, Cornell University Uihlein Director Michael Farrell will be signing copies of his new book, The Sugarmaker’s Companion: An Integrated Approach to Producing Syrup From Maple, Birch and Walnut Trees on the 23rd as well. This manual also delves into organic certifications, profitable business models as well as maple as a sustainable alternative to highly processed sweeteners.
My family continues to tap our maple trees each spring and enjoy the benefits of all the time-consuming work that is part of making maple syrup. It is not an easy task, but the routine is always looked forward to with pleasure.
Now anyone can use the Wild Center’s vast experience before committing to his or her own backyard maple project. While at the Wild Center don’t forget to use the free snowshoes (with your paid admission) and hit the many trails surrounding the property.
© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.