The old saying goes, "April showers bring May flowers..." But maple producers know that it is often these showers that also mark the end of the sap season. Our April showers have officially marked the end of the maple season at Stone House Farm. And what a season it has been. This year we produced 1,516 gallons of maple syrup. This is the most syrup ever made on our farm and we are very happy with the year we had. Just as it is every year, the end of our season is often a bittersweet one. There are some reasons why it is sad to see that the end of April is near, and other reasons why it is a welcome relief that the sap has stopped running.
If you've read any of the previous blog posts here, you know that maple season is a busy season. This year was truly one of the busiest. There was a period of three straight weeks where we were in the sap house boiling sap. Every. Single. Day. Yes, 21 straight days without the slightest bit of a break. The calendar that hangs in our sap house indicates how much sap was brought back each day from each sugar bush, and then how much maple syrup was made out of that sap. Many visitors to our sap house enjoy stepping down by the evaporator to view our calendar and check our numbers. I can't get over the number of people this year who, after viewing the calendar, commented to myself or one of my family members on how impressed they were by our labor, or expressed their gratitude to us that we continue to work hard in this industry. It really is a great feeling to have others recognize and appreciate the work that goes into the production of our products. The maple syrup crop is truly a special one for many reasons, and one is the length of the season. Thanks to the weather, you never really know just how long the season will last, and as it is going on, sometimes you don't even realize how long you've been at it. But it is over now, and we enjoy looking back on our work from February to April, and breathing that sigh of relief that we can stop being so crazy-busy for a little while!
One of the biggest parts of our sap season includes our "Pancakes in the Sap House" extravaganza that has grown immensely throughout the last fifteen years. When we first started this event, we had one picnic table for patrons to sit at as they watched us boil sap in our little sap pan. Now, our sap house can accommodate up to seventy guests at a time as they are seated around our large evaporator. It has been amazing to share our little sugar shack with so many people who share our enthusiasm for maple. We are open for twelve weekends each year, and on that last weekend we have many patrons asking us if we could consider staying open longer, but again.... All Good Things Must End. Our seasonal business has come to an end again, with our last breakfast of 2015 on April 19. It is fun for us to use this opportunity to help you learn about maple and allow you to watch your product being made. It is also fun to get to know so many different people, some of them quite well, as they visit our sap house. We've watched many children grow up as they've come through the sap house doors year after year, and sadly, said good-bye to some of our elderly patrons who had also come year after year. While our goal was to get our product out to you through the "Pancakes in the Sap House" event, we've also been grateful to build some great relationships with some great customers! But now we will be waiting until February 2016 to see many of you again.
The Schoharie County Maple Festival will be held tomorrow, Saturday, at the Cobleskill Fairgrounds. This is always the event that officially marks the end of our maple season. We hope to see many of you tomorrow as we will have a display/booth there loaded with all kinds of maple goodies that we have made this year. Come help us celebrate the season we had and say, "so long until next year" to the maple season. And finally, we must say THANK YOU to all of you for continuing to support our family's devotion to the world of maple syrup production. And thank you for your support throughout the last three months!