The wood-fire evaporator was roaring at family-run Shaw's Maple Products in Clinton. Last weekend marked the first weekend of New York's Maple Weekend celebration, a time when people can see how maple syrup is made. Carol and Curt Shaw, along with their kids, offered up free samples of food made with their maple syrup. Shaw's Maple Products also had a stocked gift shop full of bottles of maple syrup, maple candy, maple seasonings and maple mustards. Carol said just under 3,000 maple trees in Knoxboro were tapped this year. To date, the Shaws have surpassed last year's maple syrup yield--503 gallons, so far. She said this year started out slower for sap collection because of all the cold weather. "Just this past week, we had two to three really good days of running, and our numbers are catching up to last year, if not passing it, year-to-date," she said. She explained that in order for sap to flow from a sugar maple tree, there must be cold nights and warm days. Cold nights create pressure in the tree and the warm days release the sap. When you visit Clinton's main maple producer during Maple Weekend, the Shaw Family shows you around their sugarhouse, explaining all the steps to making maple syrup. Curt said that by using their trusty wood-fire evaporator, they're able to work with their own wood resources. Their evaporator also gives the syrup a better flavor, he said. Carol is hoping for warmer weather for this weekend's second installment of Maple Weekend, which is March 30 and 31. She said nearly 1,000 people visit their sugarhouse every year during the event. If you'd like to visit Shaw's Maple Products this weekend, they're open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The sugarhouse is located at 7945 Maxwell Rd., Clinton.
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