Photos by Will Dendis
Like most things having to do with food that are natural and can be done in one’s backyard, maple syrup is growing more popular, says Chris Genson, who runs Platte Creek Maple Farm with Pete LaValle on 26 acres in Mt. Marion.
Maple syrup and maple sugar can be substituted for any sweetener. It’s mainly used in baking and for candy, but can also be used for fruit and ice cream. LaValle puts it in his coffee. Being mostly sugar, it’s not exactly a health food, though it’s probably better for you than artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup. It contains minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, manganese and potassium, and some studies have shown it helps prevent diabetes and is tolerated more easily by those with the disease.
Platte Creek Maple Farm will be among the 150 participants in Maple Weekend, a statewide event taking place the last two weekends in March. Located on Glasco Turnpike, about a mile west of Kings Highway at the first driveway after number 808, the farm will be open 10-4 on Saturday and Sunday, March 22-23 and 29-30. Look for the wooden sugar shack with a green roof.
The pancake breakfast will only be held the first weekend. Both weekends will include demonstrations of sap collection and evaporation. (The ration of sap to syrup is about 40:1.)
Trees are usually tapped around Valentine’s Day, but this year has been so cold the farm is a little behind schedule. Temperate days and cold nights are best, says Genson.
Genson, a physical therapist, and LaValle, who does carpentry, property maintenance, and a little bit of everything, have run the farm on property belonging to LaValle’s family since 2008.