March 13, 2011

Maple season a time that all can enjoy


Parker Family Maple Farm, 1043 Slosson Road, West Chazy, 493-6761. Open March 19, 20, 26, 27. In 1884, Adolphus and Amelia Parker set up their homestead on a one-acre parcel of land. Five years later, in 1889, they purchased another 60 acres and the Parker Family Maple Farm was established. Five generations later, the Parker family farm encompasses 700 acres of land. The Parkers are one of the region's oldest maple syrup producing families and, at about 30,000 taps, they are also the largest.

Franklin County

Friend Maple Products, 402 Spencer Road, Burke, 483-5559, open March 26 and 27. Allan and Mary Friend tend a 75-acre sugarbush of approximately 2,500 taps at their family farm. They'd love to show you their newly built sugarhouse and let you taste maple syrup fresh from their new evaporator. And, depending on the weather, the Friends plan to offer horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides to and through their sugarbush.

Woods Maple Products, 1470 County Route 23, Chateaugay, 497-6387, open March 19, 20, 26, 27. Hamilton and Bill Wood operate a 5,000 tap sugarbush that sits on about 100 acres of forest land. It has been carefully tended for generations. Bill speaks lovingly about the fun he had as a boy working with his father and grandfather in the bush and in the sugar house, where he would revel in the sweet aroma of syrup steam coming from the evaporator. Maple syrup season was his favorite time of year. Maybe it still is.

Essex County

Essex County Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Uihlein Forest, 157 Bear Cub Lane, Lake Placid, 523-9337, open Mar 19, 20, 26, 27. The Field Station's sugar bush of approximately 4,500 taps sits within a 200-plus-acre forest that serves as an outdoor laboratory for the study of forest management and health. Cornell researchers work to develop improved techniques for sap collection and syrup processing, and to identify and cultivate genetically improved maple stock. That research has resulted in several advancements and new technologies, including the development of vacuum enhanced tubing systems.

Please support the maple producers in your county. For more information, contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office.

Richard L. Gast, extension programs assistant, Horticulture and Natural Resources, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 355 West Main St., Suite 150, Malone, 12953. Call 483-7403, fax 483-6214 or e-mail

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