The 2018 New York State Maple Tour is scheduled for July 15-17. It will be hosted by the Upper Hudson Area Maple Producers Association and centered at the Saratoga Springs Holiday Inn. Tour registration will begin starting at 3PM on Sunday afternoon July 15, the trade show displays will be ready for opening at 3:30 PM followed with a reception in the evening. On Monday at 6PM there will be a reception in the trade show area followed by the Annual Maple Tour Banquet. On Monday and Tuesday, July 16 and 17, the tour will feature visits to a variety of maple operations, both larger and smaller, see the descriptions below.
Saratoga Springs is located just off Route 87 north of Albany. Saratoga Springs is a year round destination with world-class attractions including its famous mineral springs, historical sites, horse racing and related events and cultural visits. Get information on the Saratoga area.
Maple Valley Farm
This 2,500 tap operation in Corinth, NY is owned and operated by Donald and Susan Monica with help from his sons, Tim and Scott. Don is a 3rd generation maple producer with 56 years of experience. Most of their taps are on vacuum, but they also collect from 150 buckets. They rent 25 acres of sugarbush from neighbors and friends to supplement production from their own 85 woodlot. In the sugarhouse they use a 6’x18’ wood fired evaporator that burns about 33 cords of wood per season. Much of their syrup is sold retail. About 10% is sold wholesale and 5% is sold bulk. This year they made 745 gallons of syrup.
Toad Hill Maple Farm
Toad Hill Maple Farm is a 30 year old operation owned by Randy and Jill Galusha in Athol, NY. The business is housed in a 56’x64’ timberframe sugarhouse that includes a gift shop, kitchen and pump house. They employ a 3’x10’ wood-fired evaporator, a high brix RO and a propane fired finishing pan to process sap.
In the woods, Toad Hill has 2100 taps utilizing vacuum on a wet/dry line system. Their woods are managed with the assistance of a forester and a forest management plan. They construct and maintain a network of roads through the sugarbush.
Syrup is sold retail, wholesale and also processed into a variety of value-added products including candy, cream, sugar, cotton, caramel corn and granola. Cooking for these products is done with a steam kettle followed by vacuum cooling. They have a heavy social media presence and host a big maple weekend event that includes wagon rides over their covered bridge.
Battlehill Maple is a 1,000 tap operation located near a historic Revolutionary War battle site in Fort Ann, NY. Owned by Greg Lapan and Janet Oliver, Battlehill Maple is a 5 year old business in the process of expanding, with a new vacuum system for the 2018 season. The sugarhouse was constructed in 2017 to house a 4’x12’ Leader Inferno wood-fired evaporator. Sap is gathered primarily through tubing, but also 50 buckets, with 150 taps on lease.
Annual production for Battlehill Maple ranges from 230 to 250 gallons which is sold both wholesale and retail through a farm store and 2 apple orchards. They also produce cream, candy and maple-coated nuts by request.
Battle Hill Brewing Company
This year’s maple tour will feature a stop at Battle Hill Brewing Company in historic Fort Ann, NY. Owners Jim and Darlene Hume started as home brewers, then went commercial with the opening of Battle Hill two years ago. The brewery now features a selection of 8 craft beers including a session ale, IPA and a cocoa porter. Each beer is made in small batches with fresh ingredients from local farms.
The brewery produces about 500 barrels of beer each year which equates to over 21,000 gallons. It is sold at a restaurant housed in the brewery and at other restaurants, pubs and bars in the region.
River Run Maple, LLC
River Run Maple, LLC is a 6,000 tap operation in Granville, NY owned by Michael and Debra Pauquette. Michael leases all his taps from 7 different landowners and has been selling sap for over 25 years. He upgraded to a vacuum system 7 years ago and began boiling his own syrup on a propane fired evaporator. This operation features a unique water-cooled pump that draws water from an artesian well as a source for cold water and geothermal heating.
Michael transports all of his sap to the sugarhouse with trucks. There, it is run through a sand filter, a 3 post RO, and a preheater before evaporation in a 3’x11’ Lapierre Turbo II boiler. He makes between 2,000 and 3,000 gallons of syrup per year, which is sold both retail and wholesale.
Maple Acres is a 10 year old sugaring business in Granville, NY. This 3,200 tap sugarbush, owned by Chris and Liz Truso, includes a tubing system under vacuum. Sap is conducted to a storage tank in the sugarhouse through pump lines. It is then processed through a 25 micron filter and a 3 post RO before being boiled in a 5’x14’ wood-fired evaporator.
Chris and Liz make about 1,600 gallons of syrup each year which is sold in plastic and glass with a custom label at the farmers market. They also make granulated sugar, cream and molded maple leaves. Maple Acres maintains an internet presence through a website and a Facebook page.
The Maple News Sugarhouse in Hebron, N.Y. is the home sugarhouse of Peter Gregg & family, publisher of The Maple News, who has been making gradually increasing volumes of syrup since 1997. Partnering fully in the operation, lending many skills and weekends, is Greg Smith & family. Last season there were 802 taps on pipeline going directly to the sugarhouse with a combination of 3/16ths on gravity and 5/16ths tubing on a diaphragm pump. Another 200 buckets are used on other properties (but were not in use for the 2018 season). Utilizing equipment advertised in The Maple News, visitors will find all manufacturer brands at the sugarhouse and in the woods. The sugarhouse, built in 2013, is a traditional “Vermont style” post and beam, board and batten, type that is much too small. Visitors will find the operators are midway through various expansion projects that may not seem to have any sort of plan to the casual observer. Peter Gregg’s share of the (modest) crop is packed in jugs and glass and sold out of the Maple News offices in nearby Greenwich, N.Y. Greg Smith’s share is typically bulked out to Bascom Maple Farms. Despite many, many mistakes and miscalculations that have been chronicled in The Maple News, we still on occasion can make some pretty good syrup and we even won a blue ribbon at the Washington County Fair in 2016 for our amber rich. We are fortunate and grateful to be immediately surrounded by several experienced and generous sugarmaker neighbors who have helped us out of many jams and offered valuable advice over the years.
The McEachron family, owners of Battenkill Creamery, have been dairy farmers in the Battenkill River Valley for more than 100 years. They moved to the current location in 1945 and have been farming that land ever since. In 2003, the family began considering bottling their own milk right on the farm. After extensive research, they moved forward with the idea in 2006; and their first day of bottling was February 1, 2008. Production of super-premium ice cream came soon after.
Battenkill Creamery opened an on-farm store and ice cream parlor in 2010. Their mixed breed herd of Holsteins and Jerseys produces milk that is higher in calcium, butterfat, and non-fat solids that gives their milk and ice cream its fresh full-flavor taste. Battenkill Creamery has been named a Dairy of Distinction by NYS for the past 11 years; and twice they were award Best Milk in NYS at the State Fair. Their milk and cream is sold in local grocery stores and at farmers markets; and restaurants and coffee shops from Saratoga to New York City.
The UHMPA Sugarhouse at the Washington County Fairgrounds was constructed in 1994 using funds loaned to the organization by one of its members, the late Stephan Rasher. The Association invested in the machines for making the various ice cream-based products and the maple cotton candy. Profit from the sale of maple cotton candy, donuts, ice cream and hot and cold maple-themed drinks at the building have been the major source of revenue for the Association.
Each year, over 100,000 people attend the 6-day Fair. The funds generated at the sugarhouse are used to support their annual maple season advertising campaign, a professionally designed and maintained website, and interpretive exhibits and banners for the building. In addition, this income enables the UHMPA to make an annual donation to support Cornell Maple Research Program and the NYS Maple Foundation’s Terry Laubisch Scholarship Fund. UHMPA members also sell their maple products on consignment at the maple building during the Fair.
Sugar Mill Farm
Sugar Mill Farm is a 4,500 tap operation in Greenwich, NY owned by John and Michele Reid. Now in their 23rd year in the maple industry, the Reid’s utilize a vacuum system and run their sap through an RO and preheater before boiling in a 3.5’ x 14’ oil-fired evaporator. They have also added cold storage capacity for concentrate. Annual production at Sugar Mill Farm averages 2,500 gallons which is mostly sold retail as syrup, cream and candy. They also sell some syrup wholesale.
Jackson Maple is owned and operated by Jack and Beth Daniels. In their 14th year of operating they run a 485 tap sugarbush in Jackson, NY. Most of the system is on vacuum, but they also collect from 50 buckets with help from their two daughters. In the sugarhouse, Jackson Maple employs a D&G reverse osmosis unit and a 2.5’x8’ wood fired evaporator with a preheater. The Daniels make about 230 gallons of syrup each year, some of which is stored in 15 gallon beer kegs, and later sold both wholesale and retail. They have made many improvements for labor efficiency and to achieve a high per-tap production rate.