MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua County Maple Producers Association and Cornell Cooperative Extension will host the 2014 New York State Maple Tour from July 13-15.
Centered at Chautauqua Suites Meeting and Expo Center, located at 215 W. Lake Road, the tour will open on Sunday afternoon, July 13, with registration from 3-8 p.m., a trade show from 3:30-8 p.m. and a reception from 6-8 p.m.
Activities will continue July 14 and 15 with a reception and trade show from 6-7 p.m. on Monday, followed by a banquet.
On both days, morning and afternoon paid tours will be offered at a number of area maple sugar houses and sugarbush locations, which will provide producers with many ideas for their own maple businesses.
Monday tours will include visits to Maple Glen Sugar House, Gowanda, owned by Paul and Dana Lesefske; Gabel's Maple Syrup, Lawtons, owned by Norbert Jr. and Lynn Gabel; Fairbanks Maple, Forestville, owned by Doug and Linda Fairbanks; and Wendel's Maple & More, East Concord, owned and operated by Martin and Nicholas Wendel.
On Tuesday, tours will visit the facilities of MRC Farms, Sinclairville, owned by Ken Morley and Keith Carlson; Steward's Dairy Farm, Kennedy, owned by Donald and Paul Steward; Clear Creek Farm, Mayville, owned by John and Tara Gerber; and Weather Hill Farm, Fredonia, owned by Donald and Joanne Mansfield. The tour will also stop at the Lake Erie Grape Discovery Center, in Westfield.
Virginia Carlberg, community educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County, said people from all across the Northeast who are involved in maple syrup production are planning to attend, but the event is open to anyone. She said 80-90 participants are expected to attend the tour and more than 100 people are anticipated at the banquet.
According to Carlberg, Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension assist the maple producers with the planning and organization of the program.
Maple producers look forward to the annual tour every year, and a different maple producer association hosts it each year.
"I believe the Chautauqua County Association hosted the maple tour many years ago, in the 1990s, and our local association is hosting the event again, this year. They're pretty excited about it," she said.
Carlberg said although most attendees are signed up for the entire event, they may opt to sign up for one tour-day, or the banquet only - whatever combination they chose. People may just be interested in learning more about the maple industry.
"Those interested should contact us at the cooperative extension office and fill out a registration form as soon as possible," she said. "We have two buses and if the buses are full, people may drive their own vehicles to the tour locations."
Although the tour is nearly booked, people may still attend the various events, as long as space allows. Anyone wishing to attend the banquet and/or maple tours should call Carlberg at 664-9502, ext. 202. For detailed information on the 2014 New York State Maple Tour, as well as the New York State Maple Producers Association, visit nysmaple.com and cornellmaple.com.