Last weekend, maple producers across the state of NY, including Sapsquatch, opened their sugarhouses to the public for two days of education, family fun and maple syrup. We were very busy from Thursday on at our Enfield sugarhouse and had a steady stream of visitors. Even bitter cold on Sunday couldn’t keep the dedicated maple lovers away!
The weekend really began for me on Thursday with tours from Ithaca Waldorf followed by two groups from BOCES ESL (English as a second language) classes who have come now for 4 years. They were very excited and almost cleaned out my supply of syrup. Finally, my regular afterschool program from Enfield was joined by a second section of pre-teens. Kids from my regular program provided a tour and wood chopping demonstration for the newcomers and you could tell they were very proud of their place here at Sapsquatch.
I was very happy to have a great team working with me this year. My mother Jane Russell of Around the Corner Catering http://www.aroundthecornercatering.com/provided complimentary pancakes and Sapsquatch maple sausage, maple sap brewed coffee from Keuka Coffee Roasters , and hot cocoa to guests who came to sample this years fresh maple syrup. My daughter Gaia who will be turning 12 in a few short weeks was our sales person, provided syrup samples and helped out with various other projects as throughout the weekend. We were also very lucky to have a large selection of goat milk soaps for sale from neighbor Susan Verberg of Farm Mountain Soaps http://farmountainfarm.blogspot.com/ including sugarshack soap with maple sand from our 2012 year. My aunt Noreen Whitney of Nordic Farms http://www.nordicfarmjams.com/ sent along some maple walnut jams and mom rounded out our display with Grandma Fox’s pancake mix.
Saturday night I was joined by a small but jolly contingent of partygoers. They were treated sweet steam and a warm fire while sipping hot sap beverages and swapping tales. I whipped up one of my wood-fired pizzas in the fire box for a snack. I was happy to host a crowd of foodies including Heather Sanford of the Piggery Butcher Shop http://www.thepiggery.net/pigblog/ for the first time. She has been very supportive over the years and provides shelf space at the butcher shop for Sapsquatch products. Our landlords and my uncle/aunt, Steven and Stephanie Holzbaur drove a crowd of folks down in the MuleSteven down the icy and muddy trail. Steven is co-creator and manager of the Finger Lakes Fresh Food Hub http://www.fingerlakesfresh.com/in Groton and his wife Stephanie is owner of Serendipity Catering http://serendipitycatering.biz/ . Mecklenberg neighbors Heather Christ Hallagan and husband Jake came back for a second visit of the day; Heather is an events planner from Gather https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gather/221528071219172 . 5th year Saspquatch alumn, Thomas Eisman from Six Circles Farm http://www.sixcirclesfarm.com/ was there as always and he kept us company and talked fruit until after midnight.
I pulled an all-nighter with the help of long-time Sapsquatcher Travis and over the course of the weekend, we produced almost 20 gallons of fresh syrup. While the weather report looks good for everyone who has been complaining about this winter, it looks like maple season could be wrapping up early next week, so if you were thinking about paying a visit, this weekend’s maple festivities may be your last chance for 2014. Even though the season has been short, it has been sweet, and I predict we will make up for lost time this week and produce a total seasons yield just below or on par with last season’s first 100 gallon year. Hope to see you during the last two days of NY Maple weekend on Mark 29-30 when you can expect food, fun and temps in the high 40′s.