Saturday, March 12, 2011


Maple Weekend set for next two weekends
March 12, 2011 - By JENNA LOUGHLIN

Ever wondered how exactly sap from a maple tree becomes the tasty, sticky syrup on your pancakes? Now you can see for yourself.

New York state is putting on its 16th annual Maple Weekend during the last two weekends in March, the 19-20, and 26-27. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., participating sugar houses will open their doors to those interested in the maple syrup process.

One of the regional farms taking part in the celebration is Maple Glen Sugar House in Gowanda. Owner Paul Lesefske will have his farm open both weeks, complete with a demonstration of how maple syrup is made from tapping the tree, to boiling the sap in the sugar house which hosts a more modern method of sap collection using a tubing system. Kids can even have a hands-on experience tapping trees and hanging buckets.

"It's educational for the public," Lesefske said. "You can get out and see different sugar houses and how everybody does things a little different."

In addition, Maple Glen Sugar House will offer free samples of all of the products it sells, such as maple syrup, maple candy, granulated sugar, maple cream, maple peanuts, maple jelly, six to eight flavors of pancake mix, maple drops, maple mustard and maple barbecue sauce and free horse-drawn wagon rides down through the sugar bush and back.

One of Lesefske's specialties is hot dogs that he will have for sale that have been boiled in maple sap.

"As the sap becomes more concentrated, by the time you take the hot dogs out, there's a slight glaze of syrup on them," Lesefske said. "We sell a lot of them."

Lesefske has been in business for 14 years and this year's season began for him on Feb. 12 with the tapping of trees. The first boil of the year occurred on Feb. 17 and he expects to continue making syrup four to six weeks from then.

"We've got a pretty good start on (the season)," Lesefske said. "We need freezing nights and back in the 40s during the day."

Also taking part is Fairbanks Maple in Forestville. Co-owners Linda Fairbanks will be having a pancake breakfast on top of opening up her sugar house to curious folk. The breakfast will be $6 for adults, $3 for kids over six, and six and under eat free. The meal will consist of all-you-can-eat pancakes, two sausage patties, scrambled eggs and a drink.

There will also be samples available from the many products that Fairbanks Maple produces from maple syrup to maple mustard to maple fluff, similar to cotton candy but made from granulated maple sugar. For those who visit the farm on either Sunday, there will be horse drawn wagon rides.

Big Tree Maple in Lakewood, co-owned by brother Dave and Lloyd Munsee, will also be hosting a pancake breakfast from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. all four days that features buttermilk maple pancakes, Munsee Farm fresh, farm raised pork sausage and a beverage. The cost is $7 for adults, $3 for kids over two years old and two and under eat free. Big Tree Maple can be found at

Lastly, the Gowanda Fire Hall on Aldrich Street will be hosting a pancake breakfast of its own both weekends from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information on Maple Weekend and a full list of participating sugar houses, visit Happy sugaring!



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