ATHOL - It's time to fire up the evaporator and break out the jack wax recipe. Town of Thurman residents are ready for a month-long celebration of maple syrup: making it, eating it and sharing it with visitors.
The town of Thurman kicks off the maple sugaring season with Thurman Maple Days - March 12-13 - and will host public tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at three of the town's commercial sugaring operations during the statewide Maple Weekend events - March 19-20 and March 26-27.
It is rare to find such a high concentration of maple producers in one town in the Adirondack Park. All three commercial operations in Warren County are located in the town of Thurman: Valley Road Maple, Adirondack Gold Maple Farm and the Toad Hill Maple Farm. They rely heavily on Maple Weekends each year to draw attention to their products and stay in business. And for the past several years, they've banded together to offer a one-of-a-kind, month-long maple festival.
"It's really helped us a lot," said Randy Galusha, of Toad Hill Maple Farm, the largest maple producer in Warren County. "It's what's allowed us to expand our business. It has created quite a lot of demand."
Thanks to the increase in business generated by the Maple Weekends, the Galusha family was able to invest in their operations and build a new state-of-the-art sugarhouse in time for this season. At four times the size of their old sugarhouse, the 4,000-square-foot facility was made of timber harvested on their land. Inside, a reverse-osmosis system takes 75 percent of the water out of the maple sap before it is boiled in the new wood-fired Vortex evaporator, which re-uses the steam to help boil more sap. The Galushas were able to invest in this energy-efficient equipment with the help of a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan from the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).