Maple Sugar Season Is the Hudson Valley's Sweetest Time of Year

Feature

Maple Sugar Season Is the Hudson Valley's Sweetest Time of Year

Finding Home Farms
Photo by Michael Bloom

Drip, drip, drip… the sweet sound of sap plopping into buckets is the first sign that late winter may soon melt into spring. Each year, Hudson Valley maple farms tap their trees to harvest sap, which will be boiled into precious maple syrup. 


Photo by Richard A. Smith


Photo by Charlotte Collins

“In recent years the season has been unpredictable, usually the beginning of February through the end of March. Weather depending, it may be as early as mid-January and may continue into mid-April,” says Mark Soukup, farm manager at Soukup Farm in Dover Plains. The maple-and-hay farm, established by Soukup’s grandparents, Albert and Olive, began sugaring as a hobby in 1955. Today, it has more than 3,000 taps that produce roughly 75,000 to 100,000 gallons of sap — enough to produce just 1,000 to 1,500 gallons of pure, New York maple syrup.  


Photo courtesy of Platte Creek Maple Farm

It’s a big effort with a big payoff. “The Hudson Valley has an abundance of sugar maple trees and near ideal climate for maple production,” says Soukup. “The region produces very delicate and smooth-tasting syrup, almost buttery.” Now, where can we get some pancakes? 


Photo by Mark Soukup

From Tree to Table

After trees are tapped (above), producers build fires to boil sap into syrup. (Below) Danny Dymond and Charlie Ryan feed the fire, while waiting for the season’s first run of syrup at the Saphouse at Maple Hill Farms in Prattsville.  


Photo by Ashley Bohan


Photo by Richard A. Smith

Once enough water has evaporated, a Brix reading is done to check the final sugar content. At Tree Juice Maple Syrup 67% is the magic number, which indicates that the syrup is thick enough to cling to pancakes, but not boiled to the point that it crystallizes. 


Photo by Richard A. Smith


Photo by Richard A. Smith

Once sap has officially become syrup, filtered samples are graded based on color (above). Golden is typically the lightest, followed by amber, dark, and very dark. 


Photo by Charlotte Collins


Photo by Michael Bloom

Find A Farm 

Buck Hill Farm
Jefferson; buckhillfarm.com

Corey’s Sugar Shack
Highland; coreysfarm.com

Cronin’s Maple Farm
East Fishkill; croninsmaplefarm.com

Crown Maple
Dover Plains; crownmaple.com

Finding Home Farms
Middletown; findinghomefarms.com

Grottoli’s Maple
Middle Granville; grottolismaple.com

High Point Mountain Maple Syrup
West Shokan 

Lyonsville Sugarhouse
Accord

Maple Glen Farm
East Jewett

Maple Hill Farms
Prattsville

Maple Leaf Sugaring
Ghent; mapleleafsugaring.com

Niese’s Maple Farm
Putnam Valley; find them on Facebook 

Platte Creek Maple Farm
Saugerties; platte-creek-maple-farm.myshopify.com

Soukup Farms
Dover Plains; soukupfarms.com

Sugar Brook Maple Farm
Kerhonkson; find them on Facebook

Tree Juice Maple Syrup
Arkville; treejuicemaplesyrup.com

White Oak Farm
Yorktown Heights; whiteoakfarm1.com

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