The Hudson Valley is a beautiful place to live and visit, but having the ability to experience and see how things are made by the local farmers provides a wonderful learning experience.
This weekend, we decided to head over to Cronin’s Maple Farm where we were first treated with watching “Chainsaw Doc” and his son create custom carvings from wood. Chainsaw Doc is also known as John Incledon, a chiropractor who creates his artwork as a hobby.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a lodge with items like this in and around it?
We went to where the maple sugaring tour started at Cronin’s Maple Farm, and this very pleasant young man demonstrated how maple sugaring was done. I have to give him credit with really having a way with children.
He showed how the trees are tapped into, and explained the difference between how it was done in the “old days” compared to now. In the past, sugar maple trees were tapped into, and had a bucket hanging from the spout. The buckets were heavy to carry, but the newer methods prevent all that heavy carrying.
The new method of tapping into trees consists of lateral lines made with tubing and looks like this:
The sap is then collected by a truck with a large vat. When sap needs to be transported to make the syrup, the vat is then emptied by use of a pump that brings the sap up to vats on top of the building where a machine that uses reverse osmosis helps to eliminate some of the water from the sap in order to speed up making the maple syrup.
The temperature is carefully monitored on the side, and the sap is heated by the use of wood located on the left side of this picture.
Once the syrup making process is completed, the syrup is filtered. The color is compared to other colors of syrup in order to determine the grade. The darker the syrup, the more intense the maple flavor. The best grade is based on preference.
The tour gave us a demonstration on how maple sugar was made by Native Americans in the past. To the left of this picture, you can see a log that was hollowed out. The sap was placed into the hollowed log and rocks that had been heated in fire were thrown into the sap until maple sugar was created.
Cronin’s Maple Farm had a beautiful setup. Their products consisted of seasonings, sauces, Maple Sugar Cotton Candy, Maple Sugar Leaves, Maple Sugar Peanuts and Mixed Nuts, and maple syrup. Their maple sugar was so creamy, and would melt in your mouth. The cotton candy is an unexpected pleasure that the children enjoyed. We ate so many of the nuts that we couldn’t stop, and came home with not only a container of maple syrup, but one with cute little hummingbirds on them.
A huge heartfelt thanks to John Incledon for talking with us about his art carvings, and to Cronin’s Maple Farm for providing such a wonderful day for families that included a pancake breakfast, tours, and overall nice people and a great way to enjoy the weekend. Now, if only they could make a maple syrup perfume or air freshener because the smell of maple syrup there just makes you want to hang out a little bit longer…