Croghan, N.Y. - Ride With Us! The Lewis County Maple Producers Association and Cornell Cooperative Extension are sponsoring rider fares aboard Lewis County Public Transportation buses that will take visitors to Maple Weekend sites March 21-22 and 28-29. Bus schedules will be posted at the American Maple Museum in Croghan and at the five participating sugarhouses. The handicapped-accessible buses will start at the American Maple Museum in Croghan, and leave the museum approximately every 30 minutes.
Two buses will travel the North Loop from the museum to Swiss'er Sweet Maple in Castorland and Pierce's Sugar Spigot and Moser's Maple in Croghan. The North Loop buses will begin at 9:40am and 10:10am, and are scheduled to run throughout the day.
Another bus will travel the Long Pond Road Loop from the museum to the Oswegatchie Educational Center both weekends and to Yancey's Sugarbush in the Belfort area of Croghan on March 28-29. The Long Pond Road Loop bus begins at 9:20am and runs throughout the day.
Pancake breakfasts and maple coffee will be available for purchase at the Museum each Maple Weekend day from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm. The museum will be open 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. Three floors of exhibits, accessible by elevator, showcase a diverse collection of sugaring artifacts from across US and Canada, antique equipment, logging tools, containers and sugar molds, plus a gift shop and Maple Queen Room.
At the sugarhouses, visitors will see all types of maple operations from buckets to the most modern equipment. There will be syrup and maple confections tasting, products for purchase, and walk-it-yourself or guided tours. Some producers may be demonstrating how they make sugarcakes, maple cream or hard candy.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball will be at Moser's Maple for a tree tapping ceremony at the sixth-generation maple farm on Saturday, March 21 at 11:00 am. Visitors will see sap ladders that raise sap 18 feet in height and carry it overhead to the collection tank. The new trademark product of brothers Jake and Don Moser is Moser's Maple Mini hard candy made with real maple syrup.
Pierce's Sugar Spigot is a Maple Weekend sweet treats wonderland with everything from maple syrup, sugarcakes, maple cream to maple butter, lollipops and hard candy, maple-coated peanuts, maple cotton candy and snocones. Karen and Carl Pierce operate the business with three generations of family with more than 40 years of maple experience. They built their sugar shanty in 2004.
Swiss'er Sweet Maple is a Zehr family tradition more than 100 years old. Jason and Barbara Zehr, named NYS Young Sugar Makers in 1999, manage 1,500 taps of their own and process syrup from another 2,000 taps managed by other sugarmakers. They package confections individually, in gift baskets, and as wedding favors and custom-branded corporate gifts. Their latest specialty product is maple walnut cream cheese.
The Oswegatchie Education Center will open its Maple History Trail on Maple Weekends for hands-on activities including using deer antlers to move hot rocks used by Native Americans to heat sap, wearing a yoke to carry sap buckets, and measuring trees to know which are ready to tap. The Center is operated by NYS FFA Leadership Training Inc. as a youth camp and year-round retreat and educational center for all ages.
Yancey's Sugarbush, established in 1844, will be open only on March 28-29. The operation is beloved for maintaining maple traditions, collecting sap in buckets and drawing it to the sugarhouse by horse-drawn wagon or sled. Some original maples are still on the property. Jane and Haskell Yancey are in their 33rd season of making syrup and maple confections. Haskell says, ‘People tell us they enjoy the way we make syrup with the wood-fired evaporators, maple aroma and quiet family atmosphere that lets you hear the jingle of the horses bringing the sap in.'
Moser's Mapleridge Farm in Copenhagen will be open for visitors March 21 and March 28. This family operation since 1981 uses buckets on more than 5,000 taps. Visitors can try snowshoes and gathering sap here. There will be syrup, sugar shapes, granulated sugar and maple cream for purchase. Aspiring sugarmakers can purchase equipment here.
Maple Weekend enthusiasts can also drive themselves or follow the Lewis County Maple Trail on ‘The Adirondacks Tug Hill Region. Our backyard. Your Adventure.' App to sugarhouses in the county. The app is available for download at http://www.adirondackstughill.com/index.php/mobile-apps.
Maple Weekend hours of availability are posted at www.mapleweekend.com or contact the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce at 315-376-2213, 800-724-0242.
More Info on Maple Weekend Sites
Moser's Maple, 9609 Croghan Reservoir Road, Croghan, 315-486-7933. Founded 1904 by Philip Moser, boiled sap outside on stone arch. Original sugarhouse 1912. Tubing updated 2012, 2014, sap ladder. 2013: new vacuum pump; sugarhouse expanded, 750-gal. stainless steel sap tank. 2014: Reverse osmosis; 300 ‘Sweet Maples' planted for next generation. 1st place Light Amber Syrup, overall Grand Champion April 2012 World Maple Festival; Best in Class Light Amber Champion 2014. Taught at 2015 NYS Maple Conference. www.nysmaple.com/producers-details?ID=76
Moser's Mapleridge Farm, 3981 Wilson Road, Copenhagen, 315-688-2158. Open Saturdays only for Maple Weekends; visitors can try snowshoes and gathering sap. Established in 1981. More than 5,000 taps on buckets. Boiling sap on a high-efficiency, wood-fired evaporator and piggyback. Make and sell maple products year-round plus handcrafts. Sells maple syrup, granulated sugar, sugar shapes on the farm and by bulk purchase. CDL maple sugaring equipment dealer
Oswegatchie Educational Center, 9340 Long Pond Road, Croghan, 315-346-1222. 1200-acre woods in Adirondack Park, owned by NY FFA Leadership Training Foundation, Inc.; educational sugarbush with maple history trail. New wood-fired sap evaporator, 1300 taps, modern vacuum system. Maple Weekends: taste syrup, maple products for sale. Established 1946 as agricultural youth summer camp. Year-round education/recreation retreat for youth and adults. www.oswegatchie.org/
Pierce's Sugar Spigot, 11603 State Route 812, Croghan, 346-6341. Karen and Carl Pierce operate this sugarbush with three generations of family and 40-plus years of maple experience. 5,000 taps on combination of buckets, sapbags and vacuum tubing. Maple shanty built in 2004 . Maple Weekend sugarbush tours, boiling, tastings. Products: syrup, granulated sugar, sugarcakes, maple cream, maple butter, maple lollipops, maple hard cardy, maple-coated peanuts, maple cotton and snocones . www.nysmaple.com/producers-details?ID=256
Swiss'er Sweet Maple, 6242 Swiss Road, Castorland, 315-346-1034. More than 100 years old, 4 generations of Zehr family currently working the business. Approximately 2,000 taps on site plus making syrup from another 2000 taps by others. New sugarhouse 1997; oil-fired evaporator . NYS Robert Lamb Young Sugar Maker co-winner in 1999. Diversified marketing includes gift cards, wedding favors, baskets, corporate packaging. www.swissersweetmaple.com/
Yancey's Sugarbush, Croghan/Belfort, 315-346-6356
. Established 1844, 5th generation, 180-acre dairy-maple operation; 5500-plus taps, some date to early 20th century. Jane and Haskell Yancey Jr. in their 33rd season. Maintains maple traditions with buckets and horse-drawn wagons/sleds to draw up to 250 gallons of sap. 2008: replaced 600 buckets with plastic tubing. Cuts up to 60 cords of 42-inch wood each season to fire evaporators. A good year: 40,000 gallons of sap; 800 gallons of syrup plus confections. Family lore says operation may not have made syrup one year during Civil War. Open only on March 28-29, 2015. www.nysmaple.com/producers-details?ID=387
American Maple Museum, 9756 State Route 812, Croghan, 315-346-1107. Founded 1977, building originally a school; 3 floors of exhibits and kitchen. Preserves maple heritage from Native Americans to modern times. Diverse collection of sugaring artifacts: antique equipment, logging tools, items from across US and Canada; containers and sugar molds display; gift shop; Maple Queen Room, new elevator. March Maple Weekends, May season opening with American Maple Hall of Fame inductions sanctioned by North American Maple Syrup Council. Free parking, open Maple Weekends 7:00am-4:00pm . http://americanmaplemuseum.org/