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February 10, 2013

Farm briefs: Feb. 10, 2013

Maple program offered at The Wild Center, VIC

PAUL SMITHS — The recent cold temperatures bode well for a good maple-syrup season, and in February and March The Wild Center and the Paul Smith’s College VIC will host several events showcasing how to make and enjoy this quintessential springtime treat.

Over four weekends, visitors may watch how the sweet sap of trees becomes the highlight of a pancake breakfast and learn other ways to use this natural sweetener at a series of demonstrations, activities and events in both Tupper Lake and Paul Smiths.

The Paul Smith’s College VIC will host two workshops for people interested in establishing their own backyard maple-sugaring operations.

▶ On Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m., attendees will learn how to set up a modern tubing system with Mike Farrell, director of the Cornell Maple Program. A brief classroom session will be followed by hands-on work at the VIC’s sugar-maple demonstration site. Topics will include preparing the sugarbush prior to tubing installation, site considerations, line placement and installation, tapping trees, sanitation and sap collection. Attendees should dress for the weather and be prepared for a two to three mile snowshoe walk on groomed trails and uneven terrain. They may bring their own snowshoes or borrow a pair from the VIC.

▶ On Saturday, March 23, from 1 to 4 p.m., visitors will learn about the art of maple sugaring with special emphasis on backyard tapping, collection and boiling. At this event, part of New York State’s Maple Weekend, Paul Smith’s College students will lead workshops and provide tours of the sugarhouse and the maple-demonstration site. This includes the program and tastings for the whole family.

The Wild Center will also host a pair of workshops on Sunday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, March 16, to launch Tupper Lake’s first-ever community maple-sugaring project. The project, one of the first in the state, invites area residents to tap maple trees in their own yards. The Wild Center will collect the sap daily once it starts to flow, ultimately boiling it down into maple syrup.

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