syrup0317.jpgSlowly, slowly, oh so slowly our temperatures have been sliding upwards. The Weather Service thinks we'll reach the magically delicious 50 degree mark tomorrow. is forecasting slightly cooler temperatures. The potential exists for rain or snow showers on Sunday, otherwise we are stuck in a dry and slightly warming weather pattern.

Clear days with temperatures above freezing during the day and below freezing at night provide the perfect conditions for sap flow within maple trees. As they begin to freeze in the winter maples store sap in the outer layer of the tree trunk. When Spring rolls around the trees heat up and the sap, which is 98 percent water, begins to flow down the tree. The heating of the sun raises the pressure of the sap to a value greater than the surrounding air pressure. Thus, sap flows outward when a hole is drilled in the tree.

In other words, flowing sap means it's sugaring time! In honor of, okay, to capitalize upon, this annual natural happening, the New York State Maple Producers Association is presenting its tenth annual Maple Weekend. Dozens of maple syrup producers around the state will be having open houses where you can watch the sap being boiled (it takes more than 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup), sample the syrup, and partake in other festivities. The closest participating maple producers are in Dutchess, Sullivan, or Ulster Counties. A perfect reason to get away for the weekend. If this weekend doesn't work for you the Central New York Maple Festival and Vermont Maple Festival are next month.