I walked into the kitchen Monday night and before I flipped the switch, I knew something sweet had been going on. The air was humid, stung with a burnt sugar smell.
Chris and Dave had been maple sugaring.
Chris, the facilities director, and Dave, the executive director, began tapping Sac’s trees last year. While they built some pretty cool homemade evaporators that can reduce hundreds of gallons of sap down to 10 gallons, they finish it in the kitchen, where the heat is a little more controlled and prevent scorching.
You’ll find maple farming all over this time of year, and the next two weekends are the best time to see it in action, with ideal daytime temperatures and commercial maple farmers throwing open their doors for open houses, where you can watch every step of the process.
Three Fulton County sugarhouses are part of the New York State Maple Producers Association’s Maple Weekends, including Frasier’s Sugar Shack in Lassellsville, which makes the sugar we use in our maple-crusted pork loin. There also are small sugarhouses in Hamilton, Saratoga, Herkimer and Montgomery counties participating. Click here for a full list.
I would also recommend a stop at Maple Hill Farms near Cobleskill, which sells a lot of equipment for people looking to tap their own maple trees and makes an excellent maple cream.