NEWARK VALLEY, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The maple season got off to an early start this year and the sap is still running.

Today’s Food and Farm Showcase takes us to Lawton’s Maple in Newark Valley.

Located on a dairy farm, the Lawton family has been making small batches of maple syrup for generations.

But when Nathan Lawton got to high school, he took a special liking to the process and expanded the operation.

Prior to last season, the Lawton’s built a brand new sap house with a modern, large-scale evaporator that can produce 60 gallons of syrup an hour.

So far this year, Lawton has made over 2,000 gallons of syrup.

He says the season began about 3 weeks earlier than usual.

“We’ve had a very good start to the season. I think it could keep going quite well. We’ll see what Mother Nature throws at us next.”

Lawton says the sap will continue running so long as temperatures continue to go down into the mid 20’s at night.

This year, he tapped 7,300 sugar and soft maple trees across 100 acres, most of it leased from other landowners.

His long-term goal is to eventually tap 10 to 15,000 trees on 200 acres.

Lawton’s Maple is participating in Maple Weekend this weekend, with free tours and tastings.

Lawton says, “I think it’s a great experience here particularly because it’s not just the sap house. There’s a dairy farm here that people can snoop around and look at too. You get a whole experience.”

This year, Lawton’s has mostly produced golden and amber grade syrup.

It also makes maple cream and maple candy.

While most of its syrup is sold wholesale, Lawton’s sells gallons and smaller containers to people who stop by.

Maple Weekend events run from 10 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday.

Lawton’s Farm is located at 431 Bridge Street in Newark Valley.

For more information, search Lawtons Maple on Facebook.