Maple Weekend: Ben and Judy's Sugarhouse
Despite snowy roads that made driving difficult last weekend, Ben and Judy's Sugarhouse was full of people eating a pancake breakfast. The pancakes were of course covered in maple syrup made in the sugarhouse. The breakfast was part of the first installment of New York's Maple Weekend. In addition to pancakes, those who visited the W. Edmeston sugarhouse were given tours of the maple syrup production facility. The gift shop was fully stocked with maple syrup and maple products like maple cream, maple candy and out-of-this-world maple jelly. Ben Benjamin, owner of family-run Ben and Judy's Sugarhouse, said that this year, over 6,000 maple trees were tapped, with nearly 50,000 gallons of sap collected to date. Once boiled down in the sugarhouse's evaporator, 700 gallons of syrup were bottled for consumption. Benjamin said the sugarhouse has been in operation since 1980, and in a good year, the sugarhouse can produce 1,500 gallons of syrup in a season. Maple syrup production is in Benjamin's blood, he said. His great uncle was a maple producer, and so was his grandfather. If you've never visited Ben and Judy's Sugarhouse, Benjamin said, "The breakfast is a nice way to get people familiar with our products." Samples of the maple products that they sell are available during Maple Weekend. "The kids love maple cotton candy, so we have that available, which we don't always have," he said. The weekend maple festivity carries over to this weekend, March 30 and 31. Ben and Judy's Sugarhouse is located at 770 Beaver Creek Rd., West Edmeston. Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.