B y Bill Toscano
On one hand, it looks as though the maple-sap run will very likely be over by the weekend.
On the other hand, the next two weekends will offer a variety of chances to taste the results of that sap run.
Local sugar houses open their doors for Maple Weekends, scheduled for March 17 and 18 and March 24 and 25 in New York and March 24 and 25 in Vermont.
But while syrup producers throughout the region got off to an early start because of this year’s mild winter, they may find the season ending this week, because of an early spring.
“Once you get the temperature above 60 for three or four days in a row that’s it, because the trees start budding,” said local maple producer Matt Rathbun. “Once the buds start, that changes the taste of the syrup, and you’re all done.”
This week’s forecast called for a run of five days of temperatures in the 60s.
Rathbun’s Maple Sugar House on the Granville/Whitehall line is open for breakfast year-round and will be taking part in New York’s two upcoming Maple Weekends. Grottoli’s Maple in Middle Granville will also be open for the two-weekend event.
Three Salem farms — Dry Brook Sugar House, Wild Hill Maple and Mapleland Farms — will be open, as will Rascher’s Sugar House in Shushan, Highland Maple Farm in Argyle, and Sugar Mill Farm in Greenwich.
Farms will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be running tours, and several sites will be hosting pancake breakfasts.
In Vermont, maple farms in Rutland and Bennington counties will hold a single-weekend open house on March 24 and 25.
Pam Green at Green’s Sugar House in Poultney is hoping a lot of people come visit her and her husband, whose family has been producing maple syrup on the same site since the late 1700s.
“We love having people come and see what we are doing,” she said.
“We’re going to be serving free pancakes,” said Kevin Ruane of K&S Ruane Maple Farm in Tinmouth, Vt. “We are hoping a lot of people will come out and see us.”
Other Rutland County maple-sugar producers taking part include the Wood Family Sugarhouse in Poultney, Baird Farm in North Chittenden, Bushee Family Maple Farm in Danby, Cross Road Sugar Co. in Ira, Krueger-Norton Sugarhouse in Shrewsbury, the New England Maple Museum in Pittsford, Papa John’s Sugar Shack in Mount Holly, Smith Maple Crest Farm in Shrewsbury, and Sugar & Spice Restaurant & Gift Shop in Mendon.
The Merck Forest & Farmland Center in Rupert, Mountain Valley Maple Farm in West Rupert and Havoc Hill Sugar House in East Dorset will also be open.
Other Bennington County sugar houses open for the weekend event are Mance Family Tree Farm, Maple Hill Maple and Peacock’s Pure Maple Syrup, all in Shaftsbury, and Senecal’s Sugar House in Stamford.