How to Know When Maple Season is Over

It’s not too hard to tell when to end syrup production for the year: Our sap house starts smelling like cabbage.freshmaple_spring

There are other hints that tell us to stop boiling. Swelling tree buds, while a lovely sight after the snow and cold, mean a less-than-lovely syrup flavor. The syrup tastes “buddy” (yes, that’s the actual term) and takes on a bitter flavor. We don’t bottle these batches.

The sap starts acting different, too. It boils down to a gummy mess, instead of becoming normal syrup. We usually try to avoid boiling late in the season, since dealing with this goop is like trying to clean up an eighth-grade science project gone very, very wrong.

Rising temperatures will eventually halt the flow of sap. They also tell us that it just might be a good time for a breather.

Posted in FAQ |

A Happy Maple Customer

We just received an email from a very happy customer, who purchased some of our Grade B Maple Syrup from Union Square Market!

Here’s what she had to say:

Hello from NYC!

Just wanted to thank you guys for a great purchase today at Union Square Market. I am awful with names, but it may have been Joe Andrews? who helped me. I think that is what he said… He was working around the 8:45am time frame. Anyway, he was so happy and friendly and made my morning! I am from a small town in western PA, so coming across a nice person familiar with rural life like me who can hold a good conversation makes me feel at home :)
Also, your Grade B syrup is one of my favorites. Hope you’re having a great week!
Sincerely,
Shannon
Brooklyn, NY
We are truly thankful to Miss. Shannon, who took the time to leave us some positive feedback!

How do you Know When to Tap a Maple Tree

Our dad is a pacer. Board room meetings and conference calls may work in sky-scrapers and corporate settings, but many of the most important decisions for our maple business get made while Papa walks between the dishwasher and the coffee table. You’d think our pine floors would be wearing thin.tappers.2

Perhaps one of the most crucial decisions of the year is determining when to put the taps into the maple trees. This isn’t a decision that can be made willy-nilly and the same date isn’t circled on the calendar every year. If the weather is extremely cold it will take longer for the sap to begin running. Tapping too early in such conditions could mean the holes will dry out and the sap won’t flow. Other more balmy springs, however, require vigilance for the opposite reason; if there is a thaw, which often happens in February, we need to be ready for the sap run. It takes days to have the trees tapped and connected to the tubing. Not being ready means a loss of sap and, ultimately, lost syrup. Besides these two extremes, there is the very real possibility that there will be a thaw, followed by a cold snap that could dry out the holes. This possibility means Papa walks extra laps between the kitchen and living room.

What’s the perfect remedy? Weighing all of the options and praying a lot. It’s worked every time.

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There and Back Again: Two Sisters in Manhattan

The alarm clock screeches. It’s 3:00am. For some very strange reason, people often imagine “country life” consisting of late mornings and lattes. Anyone who knows me will agree that I’m all for that kind of gracious morning, but it’s really not farm-life reality. We’re headed to Union Square market today and that means we’ll have to arrive by 7am to beat city traffic and have our tent set up by starting time. Becca grabs the coffee. She offers to drive, but since my sister is even less of a morning person than I am, I insist on taking the wheel. I can’t call it kindness on my part. More like self-preservation.

The valleys are dark and so are the roads. The only light comes from our van’s headlights, forging a path on roads that curve along the mountain contours. Eventually, we merge onto the highway, joining an ever-growing herd of vans and semis ready to feed The City. Flour trucks are ready to dump clouds of white into bakery basements; finger-lake vineyards prepare to offer their wines to upper-end parties. We join the crowd with our maple syrup.

By 6:30am Becca is able to stay awake for 30 second intervals and helps me find the new exit off of the highway. New Yorkers — despite the bad rap they get — kindly slow to let our van take a quick turn. A few more stop lights and we’re at Union Square.

New York is known as the city that never sleeps, yet at this time of the morning it feels like a reluctant child; not quite wanting to wake, but when it does, full of energy. A few other people can be seen nailing away on construction projects, or heading out clutching gym bags, bright running shoes contrasting with the cobblestones. Other farmers set up their wares, displaying heirloom tomatoes, sheep-milk cheese and cool apple cider. It will sell quickly on this muggy day.

We cheerily declare our presence by setting up our maple-leaf emblazoned tent. Cotton candy is strung along ropes and displayed out front. All of it will be gone by evening. We arrange syrup-filled glassware to catch the sun (and to attract pedestrians’ eyes).

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It’s almost starting time, which means it’s no longer dark and people can actually see us. We take turns in the van fixing our hair and trying to look like we got more than four hours of sleep. Thankfully, we blend in with the other sleepy people as they catch the subway to work. They grab maple treats to add pizzazz to their day.

Part way through the morning I run off and find a GMO-filled breakfast sandwich, nobly saving the market’s natural products for customers (of course . . . ).

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Becca takes a short stroll to find food, too. While she’s gone a school field trip descends on me and with it comes a feeling of slight panic. It’s not that I’m unused to young kids, but it’s a challenge to keep up with customers, explain the sugaring process, and hand out samples of cotton candy to 30 students, all while making sure they don’t triple dip. (Uh, I mean double dip.) Their teacher kindly agrees to come back once Becca returns. And, sure enough, Becca capably saves the day and becomes every child’s hero. We find out later we’re the students’ favorite tent. We’d like to think it’s due to our winning personalities, but it’s probably because everyone loves free spoonfuls of maple cream.

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The afternoon is full of explaining the difference between light, medium and dark syrup, between grade A and grade B, and suggesting various uses for our products. The crowd trickles and surges. Farmers trade produce and product. Heels get taller and clothes more formal. We start feeling a little more sleepy.

Tourists also stop by. Although I usually can’t understand what’s being said, I imagine their conversations going something like this: “oh, look, real rural American people out of their natural mountain habitat. Take many, many pictures.” Um, ok friends, time to buy some syrup. I’ve been on the other side of the camera, though, so really, I can’t say anything. When I do understand what’s going on, I’m usually asked the difference between syrup and honey, since maple is a North American curiosity.

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By the evening we gauge the traffic, the weather, and our sales, and decide to start packing up the van. We take things apart somewhat strategically, leaving enough maple products out until the last minute so that stragglers can grab a jug of syrup on their commute home. Becca is an expert tent-folder and car-packer, so it takes little time to have things neatly packed and ready to go.

One of the market-workers helps us back our van into traffic. We turn right at the third stop sign and head for the hills.

 

Upstate Syrup Meets Manhattan Foodies

We often tell customers that maple syrup has many uses. The creative minds at Black Tree know this, too, and recently began cooking our products into their signature dishes. (They’re definitely not a pancake house.) Their menu features “seasonal, fresh and innovative” and includes locally-sourced products.

The East Pole also started using our maple in their meals. They offer “elevated home cooking” and a whole lot of class. They’re also housed in a brown-stone, which is pretty cool.

We’re grateful our list of restaurant affiliates keeps growing. If you get the chance, be sure to stop in and give these establishments a try; your weekend is planned!

How Much Sap does a Single Tree Produce Each Year?

As any farmer will tell you, there is no sure way to precisely predict how much a plant will yield each year. Part of the adventure (or occasional headache) of farming comes from variables that contribute to a harvest. We plan as much as possible, but snow, rain, sun, and many other natural factors, contribute to how much is produced.spigot

Trees come with their own variables. Size is one consideration, as is the health of a tree. In general, though, we expect between 15 – 20 gallons of sap from each tap. We attach one or two taps to a tree depending on its size. Using vacuum-sealed lines connecting the trees to the holding tanks maximizes the yield.

An optimal sapping season will last for as long as three months, with the thermometer reading in the 40’s during the day and dropping below freezing at night. The longer the season lasts the more sap we can expect from the trees.

Of course, the sap must then be boiled down to produce maple syrup, so 15 – 20 gallons from each tap equals much less volume of the final product.

We always encourage our customers to make a trip to the beautiful Catskill Mountains of upstate New York to check out and even learn about the tapping process!

Nutritional Information

Did you know that maple syrup contains an abundance of naturally occurring minerals? It has been proven that maple syrup contains many minerals, such as calcium, manganese, potassium and magnesium. Also, much like bananas and broccoli, it’s a natural source of antioxidants.

Researches have said that antioxidants can help prevent cancer, lower blood pressure, support the immune system, and even slow the effects of aging! Maple syrup contains many additional nutrients, and has one of the lowest calorie levels of any common sweetener.

Researchers have found that maple syrup contains large amounts of phenolic compounds; these compounds are commonly found in plants, blueberries, tea, red wine and flax seed.

So why not satisfy that sweet tooth of yours with some good old fashioned, naturally tapped maple syrup from Roxbury Mountain?

What is the Shelf-Life of Maple Syrup?

Since we properly fill and seal our containers, our maple syrup is good for years! Once you open and start using our great tasting maple syrup, it will keep in the refrigerator for months, as it is a natural sugar and does not spoil.

The shelf-life for uncoated maple candy is about two weeks, on the shelf or in the refrigerator.

For coated maple candy, the shelf life is around six months when kept at room temperature; coated maple syrup candy should not be kept in the refrigerator.

The shelf-life for maple cream is about two months in the fridge, but you can also keep it frozen for a long period of time.

Because our maple syrup is so fresh and tasty you and your family will probably want to eat it right away; this blog is set up just as an FYI, in case you are able to fight the urge to eat all of our syrup in one sitting!

For more information, or to place an order please contact Roxbury Mountain Maple at 607-538-1500.

Sugar Rush

The harsh weather this winter and early spring delayed our sugaring season; however, the increase in temperatures over the last couple of weeks has finally sent the sap coursing throughthe maples and down the lines to the sugar house.

We are now busy turning that sap into fresh and delicious maple syrup. The cold winter is behind us at last, and the maple syrup is flowing again. Each sugar bush produces syrup with a unique taste, and here at Roxbury Mountain Maple it has a distinctively rich maple flavor that sets it apart.

In recent years, when the winters were mild, we were able to start the tapping process in mid-February in time for an early sap run. This year, however, we weren’t able to start making syrup until mid-March. Thankfully, we have been blessed with warm days and cool nights this month,and we hope to continue making syrup well into April. The ideal conditions for keeping the sap flowing are mild days, with freezing temperatures at night. The snow in the forecast is actually great news, as this will keep the trees from budding.  Once the buds come out, we know the sugaring season will soon end.

Not to worry, our supply of syrup should hold us over until next season, so delicious maple syrup is available year round. To order and have it shipped to directly to your home give Roxbury Mountain Maple a call at 607-538-1500, or shop online.

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Cooking with Maple Syrup

As everyone knows, maple syrup goes great with waffles and pancakes, but it also goes well with other dishes; one such dish that people just can’t get enough of is the Sweet oven-baked Grits and Millet with pecans and maple syrup.

This breakfast food takes a little bit longer to prepare, as it takes about an hour and twenty minutes to make, so it might be more practical for a weekend breakfast.

When you mix the grits with the high protein millet, you get a nice fine texture, as well as a nuttier taste. When you add our natural maple syrup, you get a sweet everlasting taste mixed in with the fine proteins of the millet!

Thanks to the New York Times, here are some of the ingredients that will help make your breakfast a special one:

  • Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • ½ cup of corn or hominy grits
  • ½ of millet
  • ¾ or 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of our naturally tapped maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of lightly toasted, chopped pecans
  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Heat a 9 to 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat, and add the grits and millet. Be sure to stir it over the heat for 3 to 5 minutes, and then remove from heat and add salt and water while still stirring.
  • Place the pan in the oven and cook for about 50 minutes.
  • After the 50 minutes add in butter and our maple syrup, stir and place it back into the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the mixture is no longer watery.
  • Remove from the heat and serve your breakfast guests; you can top off each bowl with more maple syrup, to add even more flavor to the dish!

Here at Roxbury Mountain Maple, we tap our own natural maple syrup in New York, and even sell it online. We will bottle up as much maple syrup as you need, and ship it your way! Maple syrup is great for cooking ingredients, as well as birthday presents and wedding flavors.

For more information and to order syrup online click here, or give us a call at 607-538-1500.