This month’s edition of our Food and Farm Showcase features an agricultural product that taps into a resource that grows naturally around our region.
We’re currently in the height of maple syrup season.
Sugar Creek Maple Farm in Vestal has been producing syrup commercially since 2009 on a former dairy and beef cattle farm.
It has 420 taps across over 6 acres of land.
Sugar Creek taps both sugar maple trees as well as red or “soft” maples.
7 years ago, Farm Manager Mike Blachek constructed and vacuum tube system in which the clear sap flows downhill into a collection tank and then is pumped back up to the Sugar House.
Inside, Blachek has a reverse osmosis machine that removes half of the water, saving time and firewood for boiling.
However, the remaining sap still needs to be boiled to give it its color and distinct maple flavoring.
Blachek says that’s it, no preservatives, no additives. “If you look at your store-bought non-maple products, it has 13 or 14 ingredients in it. Maple syrup has one ingredient in it and that’s maple sap. That’s all that goes into it. So, it’s a purely natural sweetener and it’s great flavor.”
Blachek says that as the season progresses the syrup produced tends to graduate through the different grades from golden to amber to dark to very dark as the sugar content increases.
Mike and his wife Teri sell maple sugar, maple cream and maple shapes in addition to bottling syrup. “I like making it and I like consuming it. Last night, my wife wanted a pancake dinner after we went to bottle. We use as much syrup as anybody.”
Blachek predicts that this maple season will be a short one as maple relies on freezing temperatures at night and temperatures not much higher than the 40’s during the day.
Sugar Creek Maple sells its products out of the Blachek home at 2490 Glenwood Road.
For more information, go to SugarCreekMapleFarm.com.