Not only is Spring a time for warmer weather and more sunshine, it's also a time to indulge in central New York's maple syrup.
As part of Maple Weekend, a statewide, two-weekend initiative that brings awareness to the maple industry, Cazenovia's Critz Farms is having its annual maple syrup celebration. And, as part of it, they are offering activities involving maple syrup.
Many people faired the 20 to 30 degree weather on the opening weekend of the celebration, March 19 and 20, to participate in the many activities, like a tractor and wagon rides through the sugar bush.
Once on the wagon, visitors are taken in the woods behind the farm where they see a seemingly endless maze of blue and white tubing and piping connected to the trees. Those tubes and pipes are part of a vacuum sap collection process that visitors get to see working firsthand. And, when the wagon ride is through, those interested have an opportunity to tour the sugarhouse, where sap is boiled and turned into syrup.
"It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup," Owner of Critz Farms Matthew Critz said while giving a tour of the sugarhouse. "We have about 2,000 taps and we also buy sap from another gentleman who has about 1,000 taps, so we'll produce between 900 and 1,000 gallons of syrup in a year."
The Critz Farms maple syrup operation in the sugarhouse consists of a reverse osmosis machine and a large evaporator. The osmosis machine is designed to take more water out of the sap making it more concentrated, and in return, helping to reduce the boiling time.
"[The reverse osmosis machine] makes us more energy efficient because we are using a third to a quarter less wood when we boil," Critz said.