Frost Valley YMCA’s free annual Maple Sugaring Open House Weekends brought scores of people to the Catskills to learn all about how maple syrup is made.
The event took place during the weekends of March 20-21 and March 28-29, just as the sugar maple trees began to thaw in our region. Due to colder weather, there wasn’t much sap available during the first weekend, however, guests were still able to learn about the entire tap-to-table process. During an educational walk, staff members from Frost Valley’s Natural Resources department taught families how to identify sugar maple trees, which only grow in northeast North America. They were allowed to walk through the Sap House and see the evaporator that boils sap as part of the process, as well as learn about tapping trees. At the end of the tour, guests were allowed to taste a sample of Frost Valley’s fresh maple syrup.
“Frost Valley has been maple sugaring since the late 1970s, and what started as just a humble operation — gathering sap in just a few hundred buckets — has now grown into a full-fledged tradition and fun learning opportunity,” says Heather Bowman, Director of Natural Resources. “Today, we have more than 1,200 taps in sugar maple trees, and thanks to a tubing system, we can now collect and store larger amounts of sap to be transformed into our delicious, Catskills syrup.”
Those who are interested in purchasing Frost Valley Maple Syrup can do so in person or online at FrostValley.org (please contact them first to ensure the store is open and stocked). As of print, Frost Valley was still producing light syrup, but a dark syrup will be available soon. Learn more at FrostValley.org.
This article originally appeared in the Tri-Valley Townsman, 2015.