Sticky situation

Making maple syrup is entirely weather dependent. The sap of sugar maples starts to run in the spring when the nights are cold and the days are relatively warm. Consequently, some maple sugaring seasons can be capricious. According to Karen Moore who manages the Hand Hollow Maple sugar shack in New Lebanon, the trees were tapped on February 15, the first boil on the 18th, and then the sap stopped on the 23rd. It started again on March 6 and was running well on March 14, when Gus Murray (l) poured the last of the filtered syrup from the first draw of the day into the finish pan. Jay Moore (r) holds the lid. The Hand Hollow sugar shack has a brand new stainless steel boiler that makes the work much easier. The finished product is sold at farm markets in New Lebanon and Chatham as well as the Canaan General Store and Shadowbrook Farm Store. Mr. Moore says they average about 180 gallons of syrup each season, a number which can range widely depending on the weather. Photo by David Lee

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