Regardless of the snow we decided today is one of the last days to see the trees tapped and maple syrup being made. So off we went in the slushy snow!! Western New York is a huge supplier of Maple Syrup across the country and we are so lucky to have quite a few maple farms less than a half hour drive away.
Today we visited Wolfe Maple Farm. We listened to the history of the farm which kicked off our tour. We then rode a tram to the back of the property, over pure mud/slush tracks (quite bumpy too) in 30 degree temperatures with 20 mph winds, to the maple trees they tap and have for many many years. Listening to the older farmer explain the history of these trees and how careful they are not to draw too much sap out of each tree (he referenced it to having blood drawn, you can only draw so much before damage will be done), you could hear the pride in his voice of generations of family utilizing this land for the few short months out of the year to try and draw enough supply to service the country. The planning and care is all around you with tubes from tree to tree, new trees being started wrapped snuggly in tubes to keep them alive during the cold winter months, and sheets listed with limits from each tree. It is quite a process…and did you know it takes 30 – 40 gallons of sap to make ONE gallon of syrup. That was probably the most impressive bit of information most people heard as you could hear the gasps on the tram. For us it was old news as we enjoy taking these trips every year to the maple farms so we knew that tidbit.
After a visit to the trees you ride back and are dropped off at the building with the steam as the kids call it. It is the evaporation building where they heat the sap and make it into syrup. The air is loaded with a sweet smell and there are people everywhere eating maple cotton candy, maple candy, maple fudge, maple nuts, maple almonds and so on. We take a tour of the building and sample the fresh hot syrup right out of the evaporator. There is a blue grass band playing and singing for your entertainment and for me is it was for my enjoyment while waiting in line with my gallon of syrup, little pints and quarts of the liquid gold for my friends, cotton candy and maple nugget candy for the kids and of course two taps as this year dad along with our 11 year old daughter have decided they can do this on our 34 acres!! So as I type this they are off to find some trees. What a great way to spend a Sunday with our family (and our 2 year old nephew/cousin who joined us!!
I took this picture of the cows on the farm to show the beautiful sky!!