Maple syrup season is in full swing at Critz Farms. More than 600 students will have visited the farm from across Central New York to learn about how maple syrup is made by the end of the season.
On Tuesday March 23, 60 students from Enders Road Elementary School in Manlius visited the farm.
During their visit, owner Matthew Critz showed the students how to grade different batches of maple syrup, and the difference in taste between different colors (light syrup has a delicate flavor, while dark syrup is more buttery).
Early spring is the right time for sap production because the temperatures have to dip below freezing at night and rise above freezing during the day.
As of Tuesday March 23, the farm had produced about 300 gallons this season. Critz had hoped to be closer to 500 gallons, but the nights had been too warm.
In the sugar house, energy from the burning wood turns 40 gallons of sap into a gallon of maple syrup. The students were impressed when stoker Patrick Allen loaded a towering stack of wood into the fire, which he has to do every seven minutes. The process produces three to four gallons of syrup an hour.
Allen is a 2007 graduate of Cazenovia High School.
This year marks the farm's 10th annual Maple Syrup Celebration.