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A bittersweet spring: Maple Weekend canceled for second year in a row, farms still selling products

How you can still get local syrup
Sweet Dream Maple Farm hoping for community support while recovering from a tough year
Posted at 1:02 PM, Mar 18, 2021

CORFU, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's a sign of spring in WNY, as we defrost from the winter, the sap is starting to flow. But the ongoing pandemic limits how much local maple farmers can share their work with others this year.

"The pandemic's been tough for us," said Al Stein, Owner of Sweet Dream Maple Farm.

After a rough year for business, all Stein could hope for was good weather for sap.

"We like that freezing night and thawing days, the weather's been semi cooperative," said Stein.

February was a bit too cold and so far, March is bringing them gallons of the sweet stuff. Normally, they'd be preparing for Maple Weekend as the season starts, but that's not happening this year.

“Our top priority this year is keeping people safe,” said Greg Zimpfer of Zimpfer Maple in Attica, a co-founder of Maple Weekend. “But producers are still making syrup and other products, so they can explain how people can buy them.”

Many sugar houses are too small to accommodate groups of people safely. However, some of the larger ones can still host a certain number of visitors. Stein has the space, but still won't be hosting visitors.

"Even though its a very important weekend for us, I decided not to do it," said Stein.

He's been participating in Maple Weekend for 10 years now, it makes up 25% of his business. But he worries about meeting all of the New York State safety protocols.

"That doesn't mean we're not open and selling syrup, it just that we can't have that fun experience, for everyone to come and really learn about maple," said Stein.

They sell their products online, ship worldwide and show some of their process on their Facebook page.

As for other maple farms, visit www.wnymaple.com to find a producer near you to contact them to see if they can visit their sugar house safely to purchase their syrup and other products.