Saturday, March 10, 2012

Utica Observer-Dispatch on Making Maple Syrup

Maple syrup — the old-fashioned way
Posted Mar 09, 2012 @ 06:42 PM

Jim Parker, owner of Clapsaddle Farm, is more of a traditionalist when it comes to creating maple syrup.

Parker, in his 22nd year producing syrup, uses buckets instead of the more modern tube process to extract sap, and boils it in a century-old sugar pan before starting the evaporating process.

“It’s a very traditional thing, but I prefer it the old way,” Parker said.

Clapsaddle Farm hosted a Maple Syrup Weekend Open House Friday, showing off the maple syrup process along with a winter farmers market with locally produced wine, cheeses and other goods.

Parker said he tapped the trees last week amid concerns the mild winter could devastate this year’s crop.

“I think it’s going to ruin our season unless we get snow and cold weather,” Parker said. “We’re all concerned about it.”

The open house also featured Amish and Mennonite cheeses from Stoltzfus Farm in Vernon Center and wine from Thousand Islands Winery in Alexandria Bay. Amish bread, baked goods and crafts also were on sale.

Howard Parker, who works for the winery, said the winter farmers market and open house also provides a small selection of local goods, such as apples, root vegetables and squash.

“Produce-wise it’s very limited, but it’s important to stay and buy local,” he said.

Nancy Jaycox, a retired dairy farmer, sells USDA approved grass-fed beef at the farmer’s market. She said people like to observe the maple syrup process and the farm experience.

“People just enjoy coming to the farm,” she said with a laugh. “I think we talk too much.”

Parker just hopes the weather holds out for a few more weeks.

“If we continue to get cold nights and warm days, we’ll be OK,” he said.

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