Maple Weekend offers sweet activities

Matt Rathbun 005By Jaime Thomas

The trees are tapped, and the maple is flowing just in time for New York’s two consecutive maple weekends.

More than 100 maple producers throughout the state will be participating in the festivities, including seven in Washington County on March 16, 17, 23 and 24. Most farms will offer tours, demonstrations and breakfasts.

Matt Rathbun, owner of Rathbun’s in North Granville, said his family has been hosting spring maple activities at his sugar house since 1961, and he’s been involved with maple weekend since it started about 15 years ago.

He’s hoping that this season will be better than last, which was too mild for strong production or public interest.

“Last year at this time it was in the 60s and it felt like spring; everyone was home doing their spring cleaning. This year, I think it’ll feel like maple weekend,” Rathbun said.

In addition to tours of the tapped trees in the woods, Rathbun will have demonstrations of the boiling process going on for those who stop by. Those with a sweet tooth will have the opportunity to try a warm sample of syrup as fresh as it comes.

He’ll also have sugar on snow, maple cotton candy, maple cream and other sweet products for sale. And his year-round restaurant will be open for homemade breakfast from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

On these days, John Shaw of Wing Truck and Trailer, Inc., will bring his Clydesdales for wagon rides.

Rathbun is hoping the weather continues to drop below freezing at night and warm up slightly during the days; he thinks the maple weekend will be good for getting people out.

“I hope it stays just like this,” he said.

At Grottoli’s in Middle Granville, meanwhile, there will be pancake breakfasts as well during the weekends. The sugarhouses will be open for tours and will offer samples of various maple products, including maple soft ice cream, maple cotton, maple candy, maple cream and of course, maple syrup.

The New York State Maple Producers Association organized the event so “families from across the Empire State and neighboring area could learn all about the production of maple syrup and other related products,” according to mapleweekend.com.

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. For more information visit mapleweekend.com.

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