SOMERS, N.Y. — Children visiting Muscoot Farm got to find out where the maple syrup on their pancakes really comes from at a maple tapping on Sunday.
The farm on Route 100 in Somers recruited one its farmers market regulars, Rich Focht, to demonstrate the tapping process. Focht owns Hummingbird Ranch, a farm in Staatsburg in Dutchess County, producing honey and maple syrup, which he sells at the market.
The maple tree’s leaves produce sugar, Focht said, which the tree “will then store down in the roots. So all summer long as it’s growing, it's storing the sugars.”
Now, in late February and early March when the temperature reaches above freezing, sugar makers drill through the bark with a hand crank, which all the children got to try out Sunday.
Kids also got to taste the sap in its raw state, which Focht said “tastes like water with a little bit of sugar in it.” But when the sap is treated and all the water is boiled away, just the sweet sugary residue is left. Focht said it can take up to two weeks for all the sap to drain out of a tree.
Focht demonstrated both the modern way and the old-fashioned way to tap a tree: The modern method uses a plastic tap, which sends the sap flowing through tubing into a bucket at the base of the tree. The traditional method uses a metal tap with a bucket attached directly beneath the spigot.
Coming up at Muscoot Farm on Sunday, March 3, and Sunday, March 10, at 11 a.m., children can spend some time in the farm’s sugar house learning about the history of making maple syrup.
Then on Saturday, March 16, and Sunday, March 17, at 10 a.m., the New York Maple Sugar Association will host a pancake breakfast at Muscoot to celebrate the end of the sugaring season. The fee for the breakfast is $8 for adults (12 and up) and $4 for children ages 2 to 11.