Maple Days in Thurman on March Weekends
“Deep, mealy snow and cold have slowed us down, but the taps are in, waiting for sap and getting ready for Thurman Maple Days,” said Randy Galusha of Toad Hill Maple Farm and an organizer of Maple Days.
Galusha was describing the nail-biting period the region’s maple producers seem to face most years as they wait for winter to release its grasp and the sap to rise in the maples. No one in the North Country needs to be told how cold it has been, and it was this cold that our producers had to sally forth through to get the tapping done. Galusha’s summary, “Tapping was kind of brutal,” seems an understatement.
They await the perfect combination required for sap to flow in the maple trees – freezing nights followed by days above 32 degrees. Seasoned sugarmakers, the folks at Toad Hill, Valley Road, Hidden Hollow and Adirondack Gold maple farms have learned to roll with the unpredictability of the season, confident that the maple nectar will flow and maple syrup, cream, and candies will again line the shelves of their gift shops when guests come calling during Thurman Maple Days, March 14-15, 21-22, and 28-29.
General event hours for tours, tasting, talks, demonstrations and shopping are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Valley Road opens for pancake breakfasts at 9 a.m., serving until 1 p.m. “We’ve got the griddle warming,” said Mike Hill, co-owner. Cheryl Kenyon, co-owner of Adirondack Gold, is quick to remind visitors that “maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes anymore.” Helping to celebrate the season with open houses are Martin’s Lumber with Maple slabs and interactive craft demonstrations for all ages, Peru Llama farm with an introduction to llama thinking, author-signed books and a chance to try out snowshoes, and Nettle Meadow Farm’s goat and sheep dairy planning to offer farm tours. Says Nettle Meadow co-owner Sheila Flanagan, “We’re hoping for some nice weather so that customers will get a chance to meet our newest group of baby lambs and kids.” The hosts look forward to this event. Wini Martin of Martin’s Lumber says, “We love sharing our interests with all who stop by. We look forward to seeing friends and neighbors who come year after year and also visiting with new guests and getting to know them.” Shops are open at all sites, so guests may take home a little bit of Thurman Maple Days.
The first weekend of Maple Days is highlighted by the annual Thurman Maple Sugar Party, an all-you-can-eat buffet crowned with dessert of old-fashioned maple jack wax, with music by The Warren County Ramblers. Proceeds from the dinner benefit the American Cancer Society for the 56th year. The dinner begins at 4 p.m. and continues until all are served.
Special guest Jessica Benoit, Upper Hudson Maple Queen, will greet guests at Valley Road Maple Farm on each day from 9 to 1, and on Sunday, February 15 at noon, TV cooking show personality Amy Rota-Poulan will share “Cooking Gluten-Free with Amy,” at Toad Hill Maple Farm.
Visit all 7 sites (within a small radius, easily found by signs at every turn). Pick up a map and guide at town hall or any site, or download one at ThurmanMapleDays.com.