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Maple weekend off to good start

Jim Deming, a partner in Brower Road Sugar House, Mayfield, boils down some maple syrup to cover peanuts Saturday as, from left, Gayle Rodriguez and Cheryl and Louis Rinaldi, all of Saratoga Springs, watch. Brower Road is one of the maple syrup producers throughout the state participating in the 22nd annual Maple Open House Weekends this weekend and next. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Making maple syrup is finicky business because the weather is finicky.

“We like about 25 degrees at night and 45 degrees in daytime and sunshine,” said Jim Deming, a partner in Brower Road Sugar House in Mayfield, on Saturday.

And temperature fluctuations have made everybody crazy this winter–from outdoor enthusiasts to maple syrup producers.

“The weather’s got us behind this year from where we were last year, but we’re hoping for 800 gallons of syrup from 2,400 taps,” he said.

This weekend and next weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. are the state’s 22nd annual Maple Open House Weekends to call attention to the syrup industry and educate the public about what it takes to go from sap to syrup.

Jim Deming, a partner in Brower Road Sugar House, Mayfield, mixes maple syrup with peanuts to provide samples for visitors. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Both Deming and Steve Savage, owner of Pleasant Valley Maple Farms in Johnstown, said the state’s promotional effort is good for business.

“It helps because the state does quite a bit of promotion,” Savage said.

Louis and Cheryl Rinaldi and Gayle Rodriguez stopped in to Brower Road. Rodroguez said they were curious about the syrup production and “we love the finished product.”

Karen Lauridsen said she and her husband, Bryan, who were visiting Lake George from New Jersey, “wanted the kids to see how they made maple syrup.” They were visiting several maple syrup farms.

Visitors at Brower Road got to taste four grades of syrup–golden color, amber color, dark color and very dark color–as well as maple cream.

With no sap running, neither sugar house was boiling down sap to syrup Saturday.

For those wanting to taste the results of syrup harvesting, Pleasant Valley offers all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Sunday is typically the busy day,” Savage said.

Other area maple producers participating in the Maple Open House Weekends are Frasier’s Sugar Shack in St. Johnsville, Mud Road Sugar House in Ephratah, Nightingale’s Maple Farm in Amsterdam and McComb’s Oak Hill Farm in Speculator.

Eric Retzlaff is the weekend reporter. He can be reached at eretzlaff@leaderherald.com

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