November 18, 2019
No trip to upstate New York is complete without a stop at a Maple Syrup operation, or so I’ve heard. So, on a FarmHer trip north, maple syrup was tops on the list and that led me right to FarmHer Erica Welch at Riverside Maple. Erica found her love of maple through her husband. When she came into the family, the tradition of tapping maple trees was more of a hobby that he and his father had. Through a desire to have more of the delicious syrup available than the limited amounts they were able to make, the couple set out on a path of expansion. Today, they’ve built a functional production farm with a unique customer experience as well for a super sweet type of agritourism!
I pulled off the windy road and up to the pristine red barn that was just inviting me to come in. Just as I expected, I stepped inside and was greeted by a welcoming team and SO much maple syrup and maple products. Erica was ready and waiting in what I can assume was her signature red plaid shirt and coat, to show me her passion. We started by heading out the back door where I was greeted by a large section of solar panels and a bunch of peculiar-looking blue tubing lines. While I was expecting trees with little taps in them to pull the maple sap out into buckets, Erica set me straight and explained that the modern way of tapping trees is to hook these blue tubes into the tree and run them all of the way down the hill to a pump room where suction pulls the sap out of the tree at a much more efficient and effective pace. She went on to explain that their farm had hundreds of acres of maple trees, but currently is only tapping a small portion…so there’s room for expansion.
From the trees and taps, we followed the sap inside where it is cooked and made into syrup. Erica explained that the sap varies from year to year based on the environment and weather factors. With it they can create a variety of different grades of syrup from a very light-colored and tasting syrup all the way to a heavier, dark syrup. To demonstrate it she led me through a taste test, explaining that everyone has a different preference when it comes to syrup. She also shared that syrup is not just for pancakes, again contrary to my assumption, listing off a number of her favorite ways to prepare food using the variety of grades. Once the syrup is ready, the make all kinds of other products from maple sugar candy to maple cotton candy!
While my day spent at a maple farm was definitely interesting to see behind the scenes of an often-used product, it was made even more special by the passionate FarmHer behind the scenes. Erica’s drive and passion propelled the couple to turn Riverside Maple into the bustling operation it is today. As we finished our day, walking through the beautiful maple forest, she explained that to her, the very best part about the farm is getting to share this little slice of heaven with others!
November 26, 2019
November 25, 2019
can these maple syrup products be ordered on line? If so where can I find them?
February 13, 2020
January 26, 2020
December 16, 2019
The busyness of holiday preparations, year-end closing of financial books, tax preparations, loan renewals and prepay of next year’s commodity inputs may have your snow globe resembling the topsy-turviness of a blizzard. Good health and wellbeing, including mental health, is a key factor that contributes to one’s ability to keep farming.
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