When the days grow warmer and the nights stay cold, the trees slowly wake from hibernation. It’s those seesawing temperatures that gets their sap moving, says Phyllis Bock, the Education Director at Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining. And that means it’s the sweetest time of year to visit local maple farms.
March 8th and 15th are Sugaring Sundays at Teatown Lake Reservation
. Their free program covers the whole process in a 30-45 minute program, which often focuses on maple’s Native American roots. Or go on March 21st when there’s a pancake brunch, with seatings at 8:30a, 9:45a, 11a, and 12:15p. Adults $10-15; children $5-7. Book in advance because that one sells out fast!
This weekend, it’s the annual Maple Fest
on March 7th at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, where visitors make a magical, snow-covered hike to the sap house to meet the sap man, Tim Neu. While there, enjoy taste tests, tapping, and entertaining stories. There's Jack Wax making (make your own chewy candy from warm maple syrup and cool clean snow), and the local Ben Rounds Band will be performing. Snow tubes will be available for hitting the Center’s central hill and, as always, there will be blacksmithing. Pancakes served all day!
Every weekend through March 22nd, there are one-hour tours of the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum
’s sugar bush, every half hour. Working to promote environmental stewardship and awareness of the unique ecology of the Hudson Highlands, museum educators tell all about sugaring, past and present, in small group outings. New this year is the Maple Lane Tour, specially designed for those with limited accessibility or wee trekkers. Those run at 11a, 1p, and 3p, and take place closer to the museum. $10/adults; $7/children ages 3-11; Museum members: $7/adults, $4/children. Dress for outdoor success.
The newest sugar bush on the scene is home to Crown Maple at Madava Farms
. Established in 2010 as an organic, sustainably managed maple farm, Madava Farms is a foodie family’s haven. And March 21st-22nd and 28th-29th from 10a-5p are Maple Weekends, where visitors can enjoy free winery-style tastings, tapping demos, and self-guided tours of their state of the art facility. Parents, taste the new Crown Maple-inspired cocktail while the kids go maple with maple cotton candy, maple cream, and maple popcorn. Still hungry? Check out their Farm Stand Café, which includes maple BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and maple pear salad. It’s just the thing for those looking to learn about the "bark to bottle" process in the most delicious way.
Whatever the temperatures, maple sugar farmers are going for it, sap or shine, so join them.