BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. — Hop City Maple is an up-and-coming sugarhouse that has transformed from a backyard hobby into a fully-fledged maple business. Located in Ballston Spa in Saratoga County, Hop City Maple is owned and operated by John and Emilia Medick. The business began ten years ago when John and Emilia decided to tap some trees on their property. That first winter they tapped 19 trees and made a few gallons of syrup boiling over an open pan. From then they tapped more trees each winter using buckets for several years and sold their sap to a neighbor. As Emilia put it, “When my husband gets into something, it grows.”
Eventually they began making their own syrup and installed a mainline tubing and vacuum system to collect sap. They built their sugarhouse using their own sawmill which they have on their property. Last year, they had 520 taps and now offer a variety of products like maple syrup available in three grades, bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, maple candies, maple cream, maple sugar, and honey. Selling their products through a farmstand at the bottom of their road, online, and at a few local businesses, their products have been well received as Emilia said that the business has, “blown our expectations so far.”
This year the Medicks plan to tap 600-700 trees and they have set up some “DIY” pumps for more efficiency in collection. Hop City Maple participated in NYS Maple Weekends for the first time last year welcoming many groups of people to the sugarhouse for tree tapping and boiling demonstrations, as well as treats like maple milk. Hop City will be participating on both weekends again this year on March 18th & 19th and 25th & 26th. At this year’s weekends Hop City Maple is teaming up with Dickinson’s Delight, a local food truck, to offer maple crepes and other maple goodies.
Looking ahead the Medicks have a 10-year plan in which they intend to keep expanding their operation adding more taps each year. They would also like to plant more maple trees on their property as they have some open spaces to do that. Their property was gifted to them after John’s mother passed away. As a way to honor her they donate some of the proceeds of their business to the charities WellSpring and Mr. Mo Project.
John and Emilia also have three young children: Gabriel, Evelyn, and Adaline. While they are still too young to help out at this point, John and Emilia would like to get them more involved later on. The kids are interested though. Emilia told a story from last year which involved her son, Gabriel, filling the back of his toy dump truck with newly made maple syrup! Emilia said, “We are seeing where it goes.” She and John are also grateful to the UHMPA for welcoming them into the group and for their help in learning more about the science of maple syrup making.
To learn more about Hop City Maple check out their website at www.hopcitymaple.com and the Hop City’s Facebook page for updates.
This year’s NYS Maple Weekends will be March 18-19 and 25-26. To find a producer near you to visit this maple season, check out the Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association website at https://www.
About the Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association: The Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association is a trade organization representing over 60 maple producers, including sugaring operations ranging from less than 100 taps to over 10,000. The group works together to raise consumer awareness of pure maple syrup made in the Upper Hudson Region – Columbia, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties.
–Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association