by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
New York State’s 2018 Maple Tour, hosted by the Upper Hudson Area Maple Producers Association, took place July 15-17, featuring tours of eight maple operations from the northeastern part of the state.
Farms included small maple production operations to large, with some using new reverse osmosis systems.
Maple Valley Farm owned and operated by Donald and Susan Monica with help from their sons and grandchildren are on their 6th generation of maple producers, with granddaughter Abby involved in all aspects of the business. “Abby is definitely interested in the mapleing,” Susan commented on the tour. Don, who has over 56 years of experience in the maple production business, says although they don’t have the reverse osmosis system yet, it is definitely in the horizon for them. The 2,500 tap operation is located in Corinth, NY.
University of Vermont/ State Agricultural College, Maple Specialist Tim Wilmot (now retired, but still practicing as researcher for Dominion & Grimm, Inc.), explained the benefits of his method; a natural gravity, high-vacuum, 3/16th diameter tubing, and other innovative maple syrup production equipment during a tour and demonstration at The Maple News Sugarhouse in Hebron, NY, where owner Peter Gregg is expecting the arrival of electricity to boost production at his sugar-house.
Many tour attendees commented on the increase of production at their maple farms due to the change over from traditional 5/16 inch tubing diameter to 3/16.
A propane fired evaporator was highlighted at River Run, LLC, a 6,000 tap operation in Granville, NY, owned by Michael and Debra Pauquette, where all sugarbush is leased from seven different landowners.
At Toadhill Maple Farm, owned by Randy and Jill Galusha, Athol, NY, a 3’x10’ wood-fired evaporator and a high brix reverse osmosis unit, along with a propane fired finishing pan, were examined by attendees. Toad Hill also produces value-added products in their state of the art facility. A wagon ride across their covered bridge and through their acres of sugarbush, provided a movie-like quality to the visit there.
Maple Acres, a 10-year old business in Granville, NY, owned by Chris and Liz Truso, showcased a 5’x14’ wood-fired evaporator. Truso has thinned his sugarbush and installed roadways making accessibility easy and giving it a park-like aura.
Jack Daniels, of Jackson Maple, Jackson, NY said he has had success using 15-gallon beer kegs he found online, for syrup storage, as opposed to the plastic containers he had used in the past.
John and Michele Reid of Sugar Mill Farm, a 4,500 tap operation in Greenwich, NY, have had good luck in using their retired dairy bulk milk tank to store sap, keeping it cool before processing.
Battlehill Maple, owned by Greg Lapan and Janet Oliver, Fort Ann, NY, is celebrating a 5 years in the maple business and is expanding with the installation of a new vacuum system.
Stops at Battenkill Creamery, where Seth McEachron told about how their dairy has grown, and at Battle Hill Brewing Company in Fort Ann, NY, where tours were conducted of the brewing facility, rounded out the 2018 NYS Maple Tour.
A stop at Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association Sugarhouse located on the Washington County Fairgrounds, gave a look at where the largest fund raiser for the UHMPA takes place and maple ice cream was provided, with many attendees going back for seconds!
Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association President, David Campbell, spoke to attendees about the huge increase in NYS maple syrup production.
New York State ranked as second largest maple producer in the United States for 2018’s maple season, with a recorded 806 thousand gallons collected. This figure is up from 2017’s recorded production of 760 thousand gallons, which was also up from the 2016 figure of 707 thousand gallons.
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