How To Spend Maple Syrup Season In And Around Westchester

Maple sugaring season is upon us, and you know what that means—pancakes!

Rising temperatures toward the end of winter create a pressure in maple wood that sets its sap to running, making it prime to harvest—a tradition that began with the Native Americans. Maple syrup is, in its way, a highly processed product, as excess water must be boiled from 40 parts of sap to make one part syrup. The sap itself has a subtle maple flavor and can be used in recipes in place of water and to make coffee, tea, and beer; South Korean villagers drink it as a tonic.

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If you want in, there are several workshops and pancake festivals you can attend in the region. At Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining, 45 bucks gets you a tap with a personalized bucket, your sap turned into syrup, two tickets to their pancake brunch, and one bottle of syrup. Muscoot Farm, Westmoreland Nature Sanctuary, and Rye Nature Center are among the many other places holding events.

Crown Maple Syrup is produced from sap gathered in neighboring Dutchess County.

Bigger picture: Did you know that Yorktown Heights is home to Westchester’s only remaining commercial maple syrup producer, White Oak Farm? They tap over 1,400 trees in Westchester and Putnam Counties, and hold a farm market on weekends. If you’re a fan of Crown Maple Syrup (used in upscale farm-to-table restaurants around here), you can take a day trip to their producer, Madava Farms (Dover Plains, Dutchess County), which holds tasting tours through May. The last few weekends of March are New York State Maple Weekends, and you can search destinations by keyword, such as the one they start you off with, “pancake breakfast” (that sounds like my kind of keyword). If all this sounds kind of quaint, keep in mind that new technologies and a wealth of untapped trees spell more maple businesses in our future.

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Have your own trees and wonder whether you’re wimping out by not making your own syrup? Tapmytrees.com is a popular starting point, and they sell a starter kit with supplies to tap three trees. Meanwhile, boil on—because beyond maple syrup can be turned into maple candy, the adorable, maple-leaf–shaped confections that are a particular weakness of mine. Here’s how to make it at home.


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