Maple sugaring is a tradition older than the Adirondack Park itself, said to have originated with the Iroquois when an errant tomahawk struck a maple tree, releasing the sap. Contemporary sugar makers begin harvesting sap as winter wanes, usually around the beginning of March. Warmer days give way to freezing nights, creating ideal conditions and increasing sap flow.
To harvest maple sap, a tap is driven into each tree. The method of collection varies - from old-fashioned buckets to state-of-the-art piping that snakes along trees, straight into the sugar house. Once collected, the sap is boiled down to remove excess moisture. What remains is pure maple syrup. The syrup is processed, tested and graded using the industry standards of: Fancy, Medium Amber, Dark Amber or B. After that, it is packaged and ready for breakfast.
New York's finest agricultural tradition culminates during Maple Weekend, one of the top Adirondack Festivals in spring. This state-wide "Liquid Gold" celebration opens sugar shack doors for tours, educational treks and enjoyment of all things maple. Held the last two weekends in March, this event spans the Adirondack's six-million acres, from mountains to valleys.