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Springtime sweetness during Maple Weekend

Midway through March, the weather may still be cold and wintery, but maple growers know that beneath the coating of ice and snow, the sap is getting ready to run. All theyre waiting for is a few warm sunny days to get things really flowing. In anticipation, maple farmers have been busy getting their equipment together, running tubing from trees to collection tanks and making sure their evaporators are in good working order. After all, the word is out New York maple syrup has been named among the best tasting in the United States. At the 13th annual Maple Weekend, local growers will be anxious to put that claim to the test, opening their sugarhouses to visitors. During the weekend-long event which will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29, and Sunday, March 30 producers will demonstrate all aspects of maple production, from tapping trees to boiling the sap to make syrup. Of course, there will be lots of tasty maple treats, from sips of maple syrup to maple cotton candy to maple ice cream. During the Maple Weekend celebration, Clinton County maple farmers located in the prime Northern Tier growing area will be joining farmers state-wide in opening their operations to the public. On Saturday only, Atwood Maple Products, 161 Atwood Road, West Chazy, will demonstrate the wood-fired evaporators on the farm, which has been producing maple syrup since 1852. On Saturday and Sunday, Parker Family Maple Farm, located at 1043 Slosson Road, also in West Chazy, will offer horse-drawn wagon rides through the sugarbush along with the requisite tasty treats. The Parker farm has been owned and operated by the Parker family since 1889, in which is something Patricia Parker takes great pride. Maple Weekend is a great way for us to invite our friends and neighbors to learn our history and see what the maple industry is all about, said Ms. Parker. It shows everyone how much a part of our North Country economy maple products are. During both days of Maple Weekend, Brows Sugarhouse, 89 Sugarbush Drive, West Chazy, and Homestead Maple, 1425 Lake Shore Road, Chazy, will also offer tours of their sugarhouses, showing how their various maple products are made. According to the New York State Maple Producers Association, in 2007 New York was the second largest producer of maple syrup, just behind Vermont. In fact, much of New Yorks maple is actually sold to Vermont producers, who then repackage the sweet syrup for retail. Unstable weather last year a long warm spell followed by late snow caused fairly significant decreases in production throughout the entire northeast and Canada, where most of the worlds maple production takes place. This year, farmers are keeping their fingers crossed there wont be a repeat; although this years cold weather and heavy snows do have some farmers concerned with the late start to the season. Maple Weekend Info Participating farms in West Chazy include: Atwood Maple Products, 161 Atwood Road, West Chazy. Phone: 493-2678 E-mail: rtatwood@hotmail.com Parker Family Maple Farm, 1043 Slosson Road, West Chazy. Phone: 493-6761 E-mail: parkerfamilymaple@yahoo.com Web site: www.parkerfamilymaple.com Brows Sugarhouse, 89 Sugarbush Drive, West Chazy. Phone: 493-5686. E-mail: browmaple@aol.com Homestead Maple, 1425 Lake Shore Road, Chazy. Phone: 846-3192. E-mail: david.swan@dhs.gov More information about Maple Weekend and events throughout the state is available by calling 1-585-591-1190 or on-line at www.mapleweekend.com.

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