New York State is observing the 26th annual Maple Weekend this Saturday and Sunday at farms throughout the region.  Funded by the state department of Agriculture and Markets, Maple Weekend gives the public an opportunity to learn about the maple sugar making processes.

“My brother, son and I run Shaver-Hill Maple Farm in Harpersfield,” co-owner Dwayne Hill said during an interview with CNY News. “So far this season we’ve made 1300 gallons of syrup.”

Making maple syrup is a tradition in the Catskills.

“Every spring the sap rises in the trees,” Hill said. “Nature has a cycle, sap rises when the days get warmer. And when it freezes at night sap goes back down into the roots. The next day when it warms up, the sap rises again.”

Maple sugar farmers use the fluctuation in temperatures to get enough sap from the trees to make maple syrup.  The trees are not harmed by the process. “We only take a small portion of sap from the tree,” Hill said.  Hill said a good analogy is making a blood donation. The doctor or nurse doesn’t take so much blood the donor gets sick.

The sap, which is about 98% water, is boiled to evaporate the water. Maple syrup is 66.5% sugar.  “We can get from 10 to 20 gallons of sap from every hole we drill in a tree,” Hill said. “Right now we have a little over six thousand taps.”

140 New York farms are participating in Maple Weekend.

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