Maple on Our Minds

After the long cold winter, spring would be a welcome sight. Despite the freezing temperatures and frequent snow squalls, it is still possible to enjoy the first and finest taste of spring, maple syrup. The final weekend of March will see sugarhouses open and pancake breakfasts served across the Great Western Catskills. The whole family can enjoy maple syrup making demonstrations, delectable edibles and the celebration of all things maple.

Here we’ve profiled just a couple of the maple activities you can enjoy this coming weekend:

For a $2 donation to the local boy-scout troop you can enjoy a tasty pancake, sausage patty and scrambled egg breakfast, topped with maple syrup of course, at Catskill Mountain Maple in Delancey (from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., March 29 and 30). Maple syrup makers, Tom Kaufman and Duane LaFever, will open their sugarhouse to the public (until 4 p.m.) and show-off their oil-fired evaporator. Karen LaFever will be making maple sugar for all to taste as well as giving demonstrations on making maple cream and maple candy. The kid in you will be delighted by these sweet treats as well as by the melt-in-your-mouth freshly spun maple cotton candy. Catskill Mountain Maple also offers tours of their sugar bush and tapping operation. So whether you like to sit inside and enjoy a delicious breakfast or venture outside and hike some tap lines, maple syrup will make your day.

Wesley Sitts’ North Franklin Maple Syrup Co. is partnering up with local groups to bring together delicious breakfasts to the Ouleout Creek Golf Course in North Franklin (8 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 29 and 30). On Saturday, March 29, breakfast proceeds will benefit the Catskill Mountain Junior Golf Association and on Sunday, March 30, the Treadwell Emergency Medical Services will benefit. Breakfasts served will depend on the hosting group but the delicious maple syrup of the North Franklin Maple Syrup Co. will complement them all. A wide array of maple products, including cream, candy and maple popcorn, will also be displayed and sold.

A short drive west on Route 357 from the Ouleout Golf Course will bring you to the Sitts Farm, where the maple syrup is made in the sugarhouse behind the barn. Stop by for a tour of their facility and a demonstration of their reverse osmosis machine or to simply enjoy sampling fresh, warm maple syrup. 

Maple lovers can also join the Shaver-Hill Maple Farm in Harpersfield for their 19th Annual Maple Open House (9 a.m. to 4 p.m., breakfast served until 3 p.m.) Learn all about the maple making process from the father and sons team of Dennis, David and Dwayne Hill. If the weather stays cold, make sure you bundle up so you can enjoy the horse drawn wagon ride to the sugar bush.

Maple sap buckets and lines have always been the harbingers of spring. With their appearance comes the hope for buds, flowers and sunny days. So though it doesn’t feel like spring, do not let the weather stop you from getting out and indulging in an awesome breakfast or in a tour of one of the many open sugar houses. Maple Season can be all too quick in passing us by.  Make sure to get out and enjoy it, in the Great Western Catskills!

Visit mapleweekend.com for a list of open sugarhouses in Delaware County.

Header Photo:  Riverdale Farm & Forest