Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Visiting Sugar Shacks

Last weekend was the Potter-Tioga Maple Weekend.  If you weren't fortunate enough to be able to go around to some of the sugar shacks (that's what a building in which maple sap is evaporated is called) then you'll definitely want to put it on your calendar for next year.  

We hope to be part of the tour next year, so I wanted to make sure I got my viewing in this year. 

My first stop was Brydonson Farm.  Brydonson Farm had all kinds of fun activities going on.  As well as having a store that sells maple processing equipment and all kind of maple goodies, they serve a fabulous pancake breakfast.  

Inside Brydonson Farm store - some of the maple processing equipment. 

Brydonson Farm - Boiling sap the old fashioned way.

Brydonson Farm - Fire starting 101 (kids having fun!)

Brydonson Farm - the top of the smoker (see the next picture)

Brydonson Farm - the owner of Costello Inn set up his smoker and sold delicious pulled pork sandwiches (with maple syrup in the sauce, of course!)

Brydonson Farm - after maple sap is boiled down into maple syrup it is run through this filter press.  This cleans out the particles and makes the syrup clear instead of cloudy.  

Brydonson Farm - a small evaporator for the hobby maple syrup-er!

Brydonson Farm - New Horizons Creamery offered yummy cheese samples and sold the most amazing homemade cheese, yogurt, and ice cream!

My next stop on the tour was the Sons of Dunn sugar shack.

Sons of Dunn- has an incredibly large evaporator.  Go to see the reverse osmosis units and their set up for large capacity maple sap processing.  You'll be astounded!

Sons of Dun- Maple syrup beautifully displayed.

Then I drove over to Wending Creek Farms.  Wending Creek has a beautiful facility.  Again with a huge maple sap evaporator and the capacity to process lots and lots of maple syrup.

Wending Creek Farms - maple syrup bottled in glass and in plastic.

Wending Creek Farms- The evaporator is gas powered.  You can see the jets blowing heat into the bottom of the maple sap evaporator.
Wending Creek- a giant evaporator!

Wending Creek Farms - A tree showing the set up for old time maple collection with a galvanized maple bucket and the newer plastic bag.  

Wending Creek- we ran into the Miss Austin Maple Sweetheart as she visited all the sugar shacks on the tour.  

Wending Creek- some of the many colors of maple syrup.  

Wending Creek- an example of maple tree tapping using tubing.  This is the way its most commonly done now by serious maple syrup producers.

My final stop was Hamilton's Sugar Shack in Ulysses.  There are many more sugar shacks on the tour, but I wasn't able to visit any more.  

Hamilton's Sugar Shack- offers a great pancake breakfast.  

Hamilton's Sugar Shack- in a beautiful dining room.  There are lots of interesting antiques around the room. 

Hamilton's Sugar Shack- examples of the many lovely maple bottles available.

Hamilton's Sugar Shack - an antique maple sap collection sled.  A team of horses would be hooked up to this and heavy buckets of sap would be poured into it and then it would be pulled back to where the maple was being boiled.  Folks sure were tough in the old days!

Next year, we hope to have Fitzgerald's Family Farm on the tour and offer lots of nice activities! 

Mark your calendars for the third weekend in March and stay tuned!

Be sure to blog hop over to Tilly's Nest!


  1. Nice. For us personally we haven't gotten any sap to speak of. It's been so cold it's not really running.
    Maybe next year. Looks like you had a great time.

    1. Its been a dismal year for us as well. Too cold and now it looks like it may turn too warm!

  2. Thank you for taking us along on your tour. I really enjoyed seeing the different stores and method of making the syrup.

    1. I enjoyed seeing everyone's different styles and approaches.

  3. If only the maple trees grew inside like the one shown above, it would so much easily to get the sap.

    1. Oh boy wouldn't it! It was a tough tapping year this year. The snow was up too our knees with a crust on top!