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VVS FFA to host ag commissioner during Maple Weekend

New York State Agriculture Commissioner to Celebrate NY's Maple Season

VVS FFA will host the commissioner March 29

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the arrival of maple season in New York State. New York State has approximately 1,500 maple producers that are currently collecting sap and making maple syrup, the State's first agricultural product of the year.

To celebrate New York's maple season, the industry is hosting its 14th Annual Maple Weekend on March 21-22 and March 28-29, 2009. Over the course of the two weekends, 110 sugarhouses across the State will open their doors to the public in an effort to share with New Yorkers the process of syrup-making from tree to table including the Vernon Verona Sherrill FFA. The public is invited to take free, self-guided tours and see the process first-hand between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Some sugarhouses offer pancake breakfasts, gift shops and horse-drawn sleigh rides as well. For more information and for a list of participating sugar houses, visit mapleweekend.com.

The Commissioner will make several stops throughout the State in celebration of the State's maple industry, including the VVS FFA on March 29. At each location, the Commissioner will join fellow maple producers, local leaders and the New York State Maple Queen to tap a ceremonial maple tree, discuss the importance of New York's maple industry and enjoy local maple products, including pancakes, maple candy and ice cream with maple syrup.

"New York is one of the few states in the nation fortunate enough to produce pure maple syrup," the Commissioner said.

"It is a truly unique commodity with a rich heritage here in New York, providing a wonderful topping for pancakes, serving as a substitute for sugar in recipes, and is a great family activity whether making it yourself or simply observing the process. Collecting sap and boiling it into maple syrup is also big business here in New York, providing an essential added income for many farm operations and rural families. So join in the fun and the tradition of maple syrup these next two weekends and experience this terrific treat for yourself!"

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