Maple's MomentMar 01, 2021 09:00AM ● By Ashley Ensminger
From buckets to spiles to reverse osmosis, it’s maple syrup season. To celebrate, the 17th Annual Maple Weekend will take place on March 20 and 21, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The first Maple Festival was in 1967 after the Potter-Tioga Maple Producers Association hosted several successful maple tours featuring maple producers within the two counties. This first festival consisted of locally produced maple product sales as well as the crowning of maple sweethearts from both counties. The festival has evolved into a mid-season event known as Maple Weekend, which is attended by thousands and continues to grow in attendance and popularity each year. Although COVID-19 precautions such as social distancing and mask wearing will of course be considered this year, maple syrup producers and maple syrup lovers throughout the region look forward to the big event.
Producer participants for the 2021 Maple Weekend will include twenty-two farms from Potter and Tioga counties. They’ll offer tours, maple production demonstrations, and information on the variety of different maple-making processes. Each farm has something unique to offer visitors. Many processes and recipes have been passed down through generations of syrup making. Attendees can expect a variety of maple treats to be available for sampling and purchase; some farms hope to provide live music.
Patterson Farms, the largest producer in Pennsylvania, will be one of the twenty-two hosting a weekend of sweetness. Terri and Terry Patterson are fourth generation working farmers and sugar makers at the Patterson Farm just outside of Sabinsville, where they have over 80,000 taps as well as three stainless steel sap silos. “Visitors who have come back over the years will notice a difference,” says Terri, explaining that the sap silos recently replaced the large tank room. During Maple Weekend, Patterson Farms will provide free tasting samples of pancakes and maple sausage. Terry explains that they are one of the few farms that, in addition to their farm tour, also provide a full maple history, from early Native Americans to present day production, as well as a Patterson family history. Visitors during Maple Weekend can also expect a sugar house tour and kitchen tour, giving them an overview of the entire syrup-making process. The folks at Patterson Farm will take COVID-19 precautions with hand sanitizing stations and mask-wearing during tours. They’re also considering having smaller rather than larger tours to help with safety.
Miller’s Purely Maple, located about five miles north of Route 6 between Mansfield and Wellsboro, will also participate in Maple Weekend with tours and demonstrations. Dale and Melanie Miller own Miller’s Purely Maple; they’ve been in in the maple making business together since 1995. The 460-acre farm currently has about 7,500 taps on the property. This year, the Millers will offer maple milkshakes and maple frappes—sweet treats that will be easier for attendees to take with them—rather than serving pancakes as they have done in the past. That would restrict the number of visitors allowed on the farm at once, Dale explains, adding, “We’re going to ask people to follow the CDC guidelines. We will be.”
Another participant is the 180-acre Sons of Dunn Farm, located in Coudersport. The farm has been owned and operated by the Dunn family since the mid-1950s, and the family has been making maple syrup since 2002. Today, Glenn Dunn Sr. and Joanne Dunn own and operate the farm with the help of their three children. During the event the Sons of Dunn Farm will demonstrate boiling with fuel oil, explain reverse osmosis, provide educational displays, and sell maple lollipops, candy, and cotton candy.
Sticky Bucket Maple, located in Sabinsville, will also participate this year. Sticky Bucket Maple is owned and operated by Brian and Wanda Warwick. They make all of their maple syrup and other maple products on their farm, tending more than 13,500 taps on the property. Weekend events are still in the planning process, but Sticky Bucket Maple hopes to offer such delicious maple samples such as French toast, maple sausage, bucket brownies, and mulled maple tea.
Another Maple Weekend participant will be the Rathbun-Weber Farm from Chrystal, which is not too far from Shinglehouse in Potter County. Rathbun-Weber Farm, owned and operated by Howard and Melanie Rathbun, produces quality maple and honey products on their century-and-a-half-old farm that currently has over 1,300 taps. Their sugar shack includes two natural gas-fired evaporators and a reverse osmosis machine. Visitors can expect tours of the farm, and delicious maple products such as maple syrup sundaes will be available.
Sugar Mama’s Appalachian Maple is owned by Rachel Courtney, from Mansfield, where she lives with her husband and their daughter. The farm has about 850 taps and a sugar shack that includes a wood fired evaporator and reverse osmosis machine, which will both be in use during Maple Weekend—if weather conditions are appropriate. Sugar Mama’s hopes to have vendors and live music as in past years, but due to COVID-19 are unable to confirm those plans until closer to the event. They will provide soap and water for handwashing.
In addition to the twenty-two participants, Hills Creek State Park in Wellsboro will also be conducting demonstrations for backyard producers.
See the map below for maple producer locations. Individual producers have websites and Facebook sites for more information. A complete list of all 2021 Maple Weekend producers, their locations, and what visitors might expect to see during the event are listed on the website at pamaple.com. Visitors can also follow @ PotterTiogaMapleProducers on Facebook for more information regarding the event.