By John Bruno Turiano
All due respect to Bernie Sanders but Vermont is probably best known for maple syrup. Second to Vermont in the US however is New York State, a major maple syrup region with 601,000 gallons of syrup produced from more than 2.3 million taps during the 2015 season. (Vermont had 1.39 million gallons.)
One of the best maple syrups I’ve had is Crown Maple, a delicately textured, clean-tasting syrup without excess caramelization that’s a common flaw in many. This ain’t your corn syrup-laden Aunt Jemima folks.
And guess what? The maker of this fine product, Madava Farms, is located in the Hudson Valley in Dover Plains, about an hour and a bit drive from White Plains.
The 800-acre farm’s chateau-like sugarhouse is the hub of the property. Pictured: Bottles of maple syrup fresh off the production line.
Visitors can go on 60-minute tours that include a gander at the four, 9,600-gallon tanks where the sap is collected, try syrup samples (dark was my favorite) at the maple syrup bar, view a tapping demo, grab a bite from the café, and sample beer and cocktails made with Crown Maple.
Or roast some marshmallows by the fire pit.
There are also hiking trails to work off all the free samples of maple sugar, maple granola, maple popcorn, and well, you get the idea.
Madava Farms is open 11 am to 5 pm weekends year-round (February and March is when the bulk of the sap is collected). Tours are usually at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm and cost $10 for adults and $5 for children. You won’t likely leave Madava Farms without buying a maple-related product.