Once again it is Maple Syrup weekend here in NW PA. Farms and individuals in the area will open up their sugar shacks to the public and give tours. Most of them also sell maple peanuts, peanut butter, maple candy and even a maple rub for grilling meat. Oh and don’t forget the famous maple syrup! In this 11th season you can tour 17 different farms and taste some delicious samples that will entice you to buy their products. In our case we bought products from each of the two farms that we visited.
Our first stop was Boylan Farms. This is their second year and they have an awesome set up. We were greeted with a warm welcome when we walked in the door and we were able to take a tour of their system and see how they make maple syrup.
In their gift shop you can peruse the shelves of maple syrup, candies and some crafts all while visiting with the owners. It was a fun time visiting this farm and we will definitely go back next year.
The next farm that we visited was the Hurry Hill Maple Farm and Museum. This was our first time at this farm and we were pleasantly surprised at the size of the museum. We decided not to take a wagon ride to the sugar shack since it was so cold so we just hung around the museum. It is a learning experience that any family would enjoy.
Yep, this is me under the tree that had a bird (fake) in it. I joked to my daughter that knowing my luck I would have a fake bird do “something” on my head :). She just had to take my picture.
Did you know that it takes forty buckets of sap to make one gallon of syrup? Amazing! No wonder the process takes so long. With the process and how many buckets of sap it takes to make a gallon, I can see why it costs as much as it does. $50 a gallon may seem like a lot but considering everything involved it is worth it. The taste is so pure, the store bought stuff has nothing on the homegrown stuff. The sweetness dripping down a stack of buttermilk pancakes tastes like no other.
Last year and this year we have toured maple sugar shacks and have supported local farmers. We make it a point to buy local when we can because we know that the small farmers are few and far between anymore. I have made it a point to try and grow some of my own food and the items that I can’t, I try to buy local and support the farmer.
If we don’t make a conscious effort to do this, little by little our farmers will be out of business and what will we have left? Try to get out and see who is in your community that you can support. With the time of year that it is see if there are any maple syrup farms in your area. I know that you will enjoy yourselves and maybe even find some goodies to buy as well.