While we’re all excited that March Madness is approaching (and that the University of Buffalo appears poised to make a run in the NCAA Tournament), there’s another March tradition currently taking place in New York state.
March marks the height of maple season, which runs from February to April in the Northeast. These are the months when temperatures are generally above freezing during the day and below freezing at night, perfect for collecting sap from maple trees. As temperatures fluctuate from cold to warmer, maple trees expand and contract, which makes sap flow up and down the tree trunk so that it can be collected by farmers.
New York state maple farms celebrate the season by hosting Maple Weekend in March. During Maple Weekend, participating maple farms open to the public, allowing people see how they make maple syrup and purchase maple products.
New York Maple Syrup
According to ClimateCentral.org, 75% of all U.S. maple syrup comes from New York and New England. However, Canada has its reputation for a reason: 80% of global maple syrup production is based in the Canada, compared with about 20% in the U.S. A century ago, those figures were reversed, but several factors, including climate change and Canadian subsidies, have played a role in growing maple production across the border.
NewYorkUpstate.com writes that New York state is home to over 2,000 “maple sugarmakers,” or people who make maple syrup. Maple sugarmakers collect sap from maple trees through a process called tapping and boil the sap until the water content is reduced, turning it into maple syrup. On average, it takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup, according to ClimateCentral.org.
Want to see how maple syrup is made and sample some of the freshest syrup around? You don’t have to go far — Buffalo and Western New York are home to many maple sugar farms producing 100% pure New York maple syrup, as well as a variety of other maple products. You can’t get much more sustainable or local than that.
Where To Celebrate Maple Weekend
Several local maple sugar farms will be open during the state’s upcoming Maple Weekend, which takes place this year during the weekends of March 23-24 and March 30-31. During Maple Weekend, maple farms across New York State open their “sugar houses” to the public so that visitors can see how maple products are made, enjoy a pancake breakfast, sample maple syrup and purchase a variety of products made with maple sugar, including maple cream, maple suckers and maple cotton candy.
The weather might still be cold, but a plate of warm pancakes with hot, fresh maple syrup is the best way to warm up this month. Visit a nearby maple farm and taste for yourself. There are more than 15 maple farms within 30 miles of Buffalo, so it’s easy to take a day trip out and sample some delicious syrup. Many are open daily, while others are open by appointment, so call ahead before taking a trip if you’re not going during Maple Weekend.
Below are some of the closest maple farms to Buffalo open during Maple Weekend in 2019. Click on the maple farm name to find out more about their Maple Weekend activities and schedules, products they offer and contact information for the farms.
Maple Farms in Buffalo & Western NY
Open Both Maple Weekends (March 23-24 & March 30-31)