Maple Weekends Are Here!
By Alicia Dziak
This weekend brings the last day of winter, the first day of spring and more importantly, the world of maple products to the people of Western New York.
The state-wide annual Maple Weekends are happening March 19-20 as well as April 2-3 when bring the area’s maple producers open their doors to the public.
NYS Maple Weekends have been one of the highlights of spring since 1995, when sugar houses first began inviting the public to see first-hand how syrup is made.
The Ellicottville area is fortunate to have many sugar houses that are participating in Maple Weekend. Visitors can expect a range of hands-on activities at these sugar houses, including guided tours, tree tapping demos, maple syrup product samples, pancake breakfasts, and the sugar-on-snow treat known as “jack wax.” Some places offer specialty items like maple cotton candy and maple hot dogs, while others will feature craft vendors and unique retail items for sale.
Check out Sprague’s Maple Farms, at 1048 Portville-Obi Road in Portville, which boasts a breakfast-all-day, full service restaurant (open year-round) serving up their own 100 percent pure maple syrup. During Maple weekends, Sprague’s also offers maple production tours and demonstrations in both their authentic old-fashioned sugar house and their state-of-the-art production facility. Sprague’s will also offer wagon rides to the sugarhouse for tastings, maple cake donuts, maple cotton candy and sugar on snow. The gift shop features all their maple products, a large variety of country gift items and gift cards for use in the restaurant and gift shop.
Maple Glen Sugar House, located at 2266 Gowanda Zoar Road in Gowanda, welcomes you to their brand new, state-of-the-art sugar house. The sugar house tour starts at ground level, and the top floor overlooks the evaporator under a large cathedral ceiling. Their oil-fired evaporator, reverse osmosis machine, filter press and stainless tanks all have a new home under one roof. Daily demonstrations include how maple syrup is made, as well as maple cream, maple popcorn and maple sugar candy. Horse-drawn wagon rides through their sugarbush are one of the many attractions, along with their famous hot dogs boiled in maple sap.
Other nearby participants include Ploetz’s Maple Syrup in Springville, Benz’s Sugar Shanty and Wendel’s Maple & More in East Concord and Boberg’s Maple in Delevan,
Not sure where to start to plan your weekend? Check out New York State Maple Producers Association’s website, www.nysmaple.com, for a list of local maple producers who will be open this weekend and details for each. There are several within a short distance from EVL, which means you can make more than one stop!
Spring is sweet, and Maple Weekends make it even sweeter. They only come twice a year so pick a day—or all four—and get your fix!