WEST CHAZY How sweet it is! The Western New York State Maple Producers Association is presenting their 12th Annual Maple Weekend. The event is free to the public, and runs March 17-18, mostly in the southern areas, and here in the North Country March 24-25 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. In all there are about 120 maple producers across New York State that will host open houses for the public to get a chance to see and sample maple syrup and other products being made. Theres nothing like the aroma and warmth of boiling sap as it is transformed into maple syrup this time of year. Some of the sugarhouses have planned of variety of other activities that are sure to make your visit even more memorable. Wayne Brow, of Brows Sugarhouse, said hed be offering tours of his 6,000-tap maple farm, and samples of this years syrup, fresh from the boiling room. Brow explained that the northern producers used to participate in the early part of the event, but the weather was not always cooperative. Because of the cold temperatures it was decided to go with the latter weekend. But he said he will be open for both, he just cannot guarantee the sap will be running on the first weekend. Brow, who bought his farm in 1977, has seen production as early as mid-February some years. This year is a little tougher, given the large snowfalls that came late in the season, rather than tapping with his more-convenient ATV, he was forced to use his snowmobile to get around the maple bush. Can anyone really predict what kind of year it will be, production-wise? No, he said, but when the sap is ready to run, youd better be ready, because theres no stopping it. If you want to play the game, youve got to go with what Mother Nature gives you, Brow said as the temperatures plummeted and the wind and snow howled outside in yet another bout of harsh wintry weather. Richard Atwood is a fifth-generation producer. His family has been making syrup since the early 1850s. The old Atwood sugarhouse still stands up the road a ways, but he built his newer one about 20 years ago to accommodate his 4,400 taps. Atwood is proudly one of the few remaining maple producers that still use wood to boil the sap. Thats the way my father raised me, and I do enjoy it, Atwood said. I like to keep the woods cleaned up, so I put the wood to good use. Now in his 31st year as a producer, Atwood said he too has had a harder time preparing this year. I still have a little tapping left to do, he said. With snow up past your thighs in the woods, thats understandable. If you go: Clinton County participants include: Brows Sugarhouse, 89 Sugarbush Drive, West Chazy. Telephone: 493-5683, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Parker Family maple Farm, 1043 Slosson Road, West Chazy. Telephone: 493-6761, email: email@example.com. The Parkers do plan to be open on both weekends, with horsedrawn sleigh rides by Country Dreams Farms. Richard Atwood Maple Products, 161 Atwood Road, West Chazy. Telephone: 493-2678, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jeff Deno Sugarhouse, 7527 Route 22, West Chazy. Telephone: 493-2866 or email: email@example.com.