MIDDLEBURY — It’s the busy season of the year for Sweet Time Maple’s Brad and Nicole White.
They and their family were cooking and serving a pancake breakfast to a growing crowd on Sunday morning at their Webster Road location – parents, children, couples and grandparents.
Everyone had arrived to enjoy a meal and homemade Sweet Time Maple syrup and maple products for this year’s Maple Weekend.
“Yesterday was really slow and today seems to be catching up,” Nicole said between checking customers at checkout. “…We were on a two-year furlough with (COVID-19 cancellations), but before that we served about 1,000 people over the four days. We probably won’t get there this weekend given things were quiet, but it could be close. This year marked the official return of Maple Weekend statewide. The event – which actually took place over two weekends – helps highlight the expansion and popularity of the maple industry in New York.
Several producers from Genesee, Wyoming and Livingston counties opened their operations to visitors as part of the celebration. Maple Weekend Part II is scheduled for March 26-27.
The Whites have owned and operated Sweet Time Maple since 2016. The couple, along with family and friends, have been working for two weeks collecting and boiling sap and making the multitude of maple products available.
This naturally includes maple syrup, cream and candies, as well as cookies, cotton candy, maple barbecue sauce and even maple flavored teas and coffees.
The Whites said this year’s maple season got off to a slow start but has improved. Maple trees generally need nights below freezing and days above freezing to get good sap.
The production season ends once the trees begin to bud, so last week’s abnormally warm temperatures were a concern.
Brad said Sweet Time Maple had about 24,000 taps collected from 11 different locations. He said they hoped the temperatures this week would keep the sap a little longer.
It’s “everyone on deck” when production season rolls around, with family and friends getting involved.
The operation can accommodate 50 people and serves breakfast on Maple Weekend mornings. He then moves on to show his production in the afternoon.
Why do people like maple? “You look at our store, we have maple sauce, maple tea, maple cookies, maple syrup, maple milkshakes,” Nicole said with a laugh. a little. “We kind of put it in everything, I guess.
“Last week was probably our biggest week of maple sap production,” she continued. “We’ve been boiling every day this week, which isn’t normal – you normally have a few days here and there, a few days off.”
The vast majority of Sweet Time Maple’s products are homemade, so Whites and the team also baked the cookies, candies, snack mixes and other treats.
Nicole has a separate full-time job, so they put in a lot of time on nights and weekends – a fact of life that many producers are familiar with. “It’s a family business, so our kids are here to help, as well as me and my husband,” Nicole said. “(Brad) is the one who boils and his family helps him. It’s crazy, it’s hectic, it’s fun – that’s what we do. Maple Weekend is our weekend. busiest end. https://mapleweekend.nysmaple.com a complete list of Maple Weekend locations and activities.