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17th annual Maple Weekend approaches

New York state will celebrate its 17th annual Maple Weekend March 17 and 18, as well as March 24 and 25 at more than 140 locations across the state, including Critz Farms in Cazenovia and Sterns Farm in Erieville.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, maple syrup producers will invite the public to learn about the syrup-making process, from tapping maple trees to the breakfast table. At this free-admission event, organized by the New York State Maple Producers Association, visitors will also have the opportunity to taste and purchase maple products.

“The goal of Maple Weekend is to teach and demonstrate how maple syrup is made from the single ingredient, maple sap. It is a process that is fun to watch, smells great, and produces a great-tasting natural sweet,” said Helen Thomas, executive director of NYSMPA. “Taste testing is part of the fun!”

More than 1,500 New York maple producers generate about 20 percent of all syrup in the United States, making New York the second largest maple producing state in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It takes more than 40 gallons of maple tree sap to create one gallon of pure maple syrup. In 2011, New York maple producers manufactured 564,000 gallons of maple syrup, marking New York’s highest production since 1947. It is a $22 million industry in New York State.

“Maple Weekend is a fun event for families and New York residents of all ages to discover one of New York’s finest traditions,” Thomas said. “We take great pride in our maple production because it provides an opportunity for New Yorkers to enjoy products that are made locally.”

In conjunction with Maple Weekend, several locations will host all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts and a variety of other family-oriented activities.

For more information and a list of participating locations, visit nysmaple.com or mapleweekend.com.

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