According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, there are more than 1,500 maple producers in New York State, who generate more than $8-million in sales, making New York the third largest maple producing state behind only Vermont and Maine. Farrell believes that there's still room for growth.
"I've conducted comprehensive surveys of the maple industry in Northern New York and the reports show that there's still great potential to produce even more," he said. "I think that I'm being conservative when I say that this could be a $9-million annual industry to the state."
On Sept. 28, the tour will feature noted restaurant and hospitality consultant Clark Wolf, who will speak about the importance of building the local food economy and the role maple syrup producers can play in developing sustainable and thriving communities.
"Pure maple products are the local, healthy sugar alternative for the Northeast and we are excited to have Clark Wolf come speak about the incredible opportunities for maple producers to expand further into growing niche markets."
Maple sugar contains more minerals and nutrients than cane sugar, Farrell said, and while demand for maple products is slowly expanding nationwide, more can be done to encourage their use, both in homes and in the food industry.
"I don't think it should be an 'alternative,'" said Farrell. "Maple sugar was the primary source of sugar until we started importing cane sugar from the south."
The tour opens Sept. 27 at the North Elba Show Ground with a presentation by Dr. Timothy Perkins, director of Proctor Maple Research Center at the University of Vermont. He will discuss the latest research on check-valve adapters, which have shown potential to produce between 50 to 90-percent higher sap yields. The 4-6 p.m. event has a $10 admissions fee that includes complimentary hors d'oeurves.
Late registrations for the three-day Maple Tour event are also still being accepted. With a $25 late registration fee added, the cost is $165. To register, contact the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors' Bureau at 523-2445 ext. 109.