How sweet it is! Village trees bear sugary sap

— Last month, my buddy Joe Romano gifted me with a quart of homemade maple syrup made from sap from old maple trees growing right here in the village. Actually, the syrup blends drippings from Liverpool silver maples and sugar maples down in DeRuyer, where Joe has a camp and a sugar shack.

Anyhow, what you need to know is that the syrup’s sweet as sugar cane. A barely transparent chestnut brown, it pours evenly with consistency like soft honey. My pancakes never tasted so good!

And it made me feel proud to know that this superlative confection comes from some of the same trees into which I’d carved my initials so many years ago.

Romano, who also makes wine, sculptures and furniture, applies his varied expertise to the multi-stage sugaring process. First he tapped the trees, attaching blue pouches and white plastic buckets to silver maples along Second Street where he lives near the corner of Hickory.

Then he took the raw sap to DeRuyter. The time-consuming boiling process evaporates the sap so that the syrup achieves its desired consistency.

And even his meteorological skills come into play.

The specific weather conditions of the thaw period were, and still are, critical in determining the length of the sugaring season. As the weather continued to warm back in March, the maple trees’ normal early-spring biological process could’ve eventually altered the taste of the sap, making it unpalatable. Syrup boiled too long would eventually crystallize, whereas under-boiled syrup ends up watery, and will quickly spoil.

Well I’m here to testify there’s nothing watery about Romano’s batch!

In all, Joe made more than 14 gallons of maple syrup this year, and how sweet it is!

You’ll go bananas! You’ll go nuts !

They’re now serving delicious banana-walnut pancakes at the Gardenview Diner, at 650 Old Liverpool Road; 451-5525.

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