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.
MAPLE SEASON BEGINS:— Taylor Epps (@taylor_epps_) March 18, 2021
Smells like breakfast on @WKBW this morning🍁
We’re showing you how this syrup is made locally and how you can get your hands on some despite maple weekend being canceled. pic.twitter.com/nz6c8t2n7O
"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.
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.