MALTA, N.Y. — State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball will join the Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association (UHMPA) for the first maple tapping of the season at Sugar Oak Farms in Malta on March 12, 2021 to promote New York’s maple producers. While Maple Weekends celebrations are not officially taking place across New York this year as they traditionally do, many maple farms are still hosting open houses following COVID-19 guidelines and providing opportunities to purchase maple products online or through curbside pickup. Commissioner Ball is also encouraging New Yorkers to support the maple industry by buying maple products online at ShopTasteNY.com and at any of the State’s many Taste NY Markets.
Commissioner Ball said, “Maple season is finally underway and the sap is already flowing in many parts of the State. Although it has been a challenging year for all of us, I’m proud of the way the agricultural industry has adapted. All season, maple producers are working hard to provide delicious maple products for all to enjoy and many of them are hosting Maple Weekend activities, following COVID-19 guidelines to ensure a safe visit. I encourage New Yorkers to find a nearby, local producer that is offering visitors a safe and socially distanced opportunity to get outdoors, learn more about the industry, and bring home some of the sweet maple treats that New York State is known for.”
Maple Events in March
From educational demonstrations to maple sugaring tours that will operate at reduced capacity, families can celebrate agriculture’s first crop of the season by finding events closest to them on the NYS Maple Producers Association’s website at https://nysmaple.com/buy-local/. People are encouraged to call ahead and check with their local producers to ensure that they are open. Additionally, many producers are selling their products online or for curbside pickup.
Commissioner Ball will visit Sugar Oak Farms for an annual maple tree tapping to highlight New York’s maple industry and the maple producers participating in the New York State Grown & Certified program. More than 70 maple producers participate in the New York State Grown & Certified program, which verifies New York’s agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards. A current list of maple producers who are a part of the New York State Grown & Certified program can be found here.
In addition, the State’s Taste NY Markets and stores will be celebrating all things maple, all month long. Consumers can visit a store to find their favorite syrups, maple candies—including cotton candy—creams, lattes and other specialty barista beverages, and more. Each Taste NY Market at the New York State Welcome Centers is taking entries for a special giveaway at the end of the month – a gift basket stocked with maple and other market goodies. Visit taste.ny.gov to find a market near you.
ShopTasteNY.com is also promoting New York maple producers this month, with a special promotion offering 50% off on select maple products throughout this month. ShopTasteNY allows consumers to shop for New York agricultural products and gifts from the comfort of their own home.
Executive Director of the New York State Maple Producers Association Helen Thomas said, “It has been a challenging year for our maple industry, but as our producers begin the process of making nature’s original sweetener, we are looking forward to celebrating the season. With many of our producers hosting small Maple Weekend events and activities in the spirit of maple season, families will still have an opportunity to safely enjoy the long-time tradition of visiting a sugarhouse and learn about the process of making maple syrup.”
UHMPA President David Campbell said, “We’re happy to have Commissioner Ball there to help kick off maple season at Sugar Oak Farms. It looks like the sap will be flowing well. As always, the maple producers in the Upper Hudson Region are hoping for a great crop. Many local producers will be open, following COVID-19 guidelines, so consumers should check with them about how to support them and get their favorite fresh maple products.”
Erich Ruger, Owner of Sugar Oak Farms, said, “We are honored to welcome Commissioner Ball to our sugar house! As producers of New York’s first agricultural crop of the year, we are excited to share our harvest with the Commissioner and the public. We’ve got some great maple treats, and visitors can safely check out some socially distanced demonstrations and take a tour of our sugarbush.”
Allyson Towndrow, Central NY Welcome Center Taste NY Manager, said, “This Maple Month we will be showcasing all the best in the maple industry. The Central NY Welcome Center has added a few new maple producers as well as an assortment of syrup and maple products. We will be promoting any and all of the Maple Weekend festivities happing in our area as well as fun facts about everyone’s favorite breakfast item. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.”
Gregory M. Sandor, Cornell Cooperative Extension Nassau Executive Director and Long Island Welcome Center Taste NY Store Operator, said, “Taste NY at the Long Island Welcome Center (LIWC) proudly showcases and promotes the NYS maple industry throughout the year. During this special maple campaign week, we are excited to promote maple syrup with a Taste NY Breakfast Basket Raffle. This basket highlights the many fantastic New York State maple vendors, including maple syrup, maple sugar, maple pancake mix, and maple chocolate. Each season, the LIWC center display focuses on one primary theme during each month – this month we will highlight our maple products, including various grades and sizes of maple syrup. Maple syrup is produced throughout New York State and we are proud to have a wide-ranging display—which along with advertising for the industry allows us to sell a large amount of product.”
New York State ranks second in the nation for maple production, producing 804,000 gallons of maple syrup in 2020. New York is also home to the largest resource of tappable maple trees within the United States and more than 2,000 maple sugar makers. The Department supports the maple industry through the New York State Budget—which includes funding for promotion and educational programs—as well as through investments in research projects, such as Cornell University’s Maple Program’s Arnot Teaching Forest, and through its NYS Grown & Certified marketing program.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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