The Lewis County maple sugarhouses participating in the 2016 Maple Weekend activities are Moser's Maple, Croghan; Moser's Mapleridge Farm, Copenhagen; Oswegatchie Educational Center, Croghan; Pierce's Sugar Spigot in Croghan, Swiss'er Sweet Maple, Castorland; and Yancey's Sugarbush, Croghan.
The Lewis County Maple Producers Association is sponsoring rider fares aboard the handicapped accessible public buses that begin boarding passengers for the first runs to some sites at 9:30, 9:45 and 10am at the American Maple Museum in Croghan. The complete schedule is posted at ccelewis.org.
Visitors to the Lewis County sugarhouses participating in the sweet ‘16 Maple Weekends will see a diversity of maple operations from buckets collected by horse-drawn sled to modern vacuum tubing systems that bring sap from the trees right into the sugarhouse. Some producers may be demonstrating how they boil syrup, bottle syrup, and make sugarcakes, maple cream, cotton candy, and other delicious confections.
Drive-yourself visitors can follow the Lewis County Maple Trail app to visit all five participating sugarhouses. The web-based mobile app developed by the Lewis County Maple Producers Association and Lewis County Planning Department is Android and I-Phone-friendly and works without cell phone reception. Waypoint and GPS features enhance usability of the app available for download at http://www.adirondackstughill.com/index.php/mobile-apps.
Some sugarhouse sites are not open on Sundays. Check www.mapleweekend.com for varying days and hours of availability or contact the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce at 315-376-2213, 800-724-0242. Many of the Lewis County maple producers and others statewide are open throughout the maple syrup season. Check online or call ahead to be sure the sites of your choice are open.
‘Maple Weekends are a great family activity that offers the opportunity to learn how producers turn the sap of a maple tree into North Country confections that draws visitors back year after year,' says Lewis County Maple Producers Maple Weekend Coordinator Nadeen Lyndaker.
MORE INFORMATION on EACH MAPLE WEEKEND SITE
The American Maple Museum and North American Maple Hall of Fame, 9756 State Route 812, Croghan, will have pancake breakfast and maple coffee available for purchase April 2 and April 3 from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm. The museum has three floors of exhibits, fully handicap accessible, with a diverse collection of sugaring artifacts from across the US and Canada, antique equipment, logging tools, maple containers and sugar molds, and a gift shop.
Moser's Maple, 9609 Croghan Reservoir Road, Croghan, developed an original recipe and trademarked Moser's Maple Mini's, the first high production hard candy made in the U.S. with real maple syrup. Visitors to Moser's Maple sugarhouse will see sap ladders that carry sap 18 feet overhead from the woods into the sugarhouse.
Nearly two dozen family members across four generations and lots of friends make syrup at Moser's Mapleridge Farm, 3981 Wilson Road, Copenhagen. The family business that also includes sugarmaking equipment sales will be open only on Saturday, offering horse-drawn tours of their woods, snow shoes to try, and tasting.
Pierce's Sugar Spigot, 11603 State Route 812, Croghan, offers guided sugarbush tours and is a confections extravaganza in the sugarhouse with maple syrup, sugarcakes, cream, butter, lollipops, cotton candy, and maple-coated peanuts and snocones. Wax on snow will be a treat for 2016, if snow is available.
Swiss'er Sweet Maple, 6242 Swiss Road, Croghan, was the first sugarmaker in Lewis County to open for Maple Weekends 14 years ago. Jason and Barbara Zehr operate the 100-plus-year-old family business known for its maple and maple walnut cream cheeses and as home of the Adirondack Containers for syrup and maple cream.
Horse-drawn teams bring sap down the road to the sugarhouse at Yancey's Sugarbush, established in 1844 in the Belfort woods outside Croghan at 7981 Long Pond Road. They have operated all but one year during the Civil War. Some of their maples are more than 250 years old. Ask Haskell Yancey about his young sweet trees.
The NYS FFA Leadership Training Foundation operates the 1200-acre Oswegatchie Education Center, 9340 Long Pond Road, Croghan. Visitors can follow the Oswegatchie Maple History Trail from Native American skills to the modern sugarhouse. Tractor rides will be available.
Nadeen Lyndaker, Lewis County Maple Producers, 315.349.6829
Michele Ledoux, Cornell Cooperative Extension Lewis County, 315.376.5270
Frank Pace, Lewis County Planner, 315.376.5422
Publicist Kara Lynn Dunn, 315.465.7578, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Michele Ledoux.