I couldn’t have been more excited to go taste maple syrup AND get class credit for it. We drove through country roads lined with orange, red and yellow leaved trees. The entrance was decorated with the autumn essentials (squash, pumpkin and hay) and despite our professor’s warnings – we weren’t prepared for the real fall season. Shellie greeted us promptly and gave us some time to look around their lobby, which was a syrup lover’s dream – maple syrup chocolate, maple sugar, apple butter (made with maple syrup, obviously) and even apparel.
She lead us through to a massive wall mural, which depicts Madava Farms, and started to tell us about the history and science behind Crown Maple Syrup. Robb Turner bought the property for his family and saw an opportunity in the huge amount of maple trees that filled the land to get involved in the syrup game.
Since then the property has grown to 800 acres, and includes multiple ponds, a sugarhouse, processing facility and restaurant- all in about 36 months! In that time they seemed to have mastered the production of pure maple syrup.
They tap the maple trees with small plastic tubes which feed the sap, for about twenty days, into lines that lead to the processing center. The sap goes through a sci-fi looking reverse osmosis machine, a gigantic evaporator, a filter and eventually becomes our beloved maple syrup. Before packaging (by hand), they taste every barrel for quality control. Luckily, they gave us a chance to partake in quality control by giving us a tasting. We had shot glasses of light, medium and dark amber – and that’s how we got to drink maple syrup AND get class credit for it – cheers to the freakin’ weekend!
Crown Maple Syrup is striving to become a unique culinary and nature destination! Due to their picturesque location and the remarkably high quality of their maple syrup restaurants and chefs all over the world are already starting to take an interest in Crown Maple. Because of their state-of-the-art facilities, Crown Maple has the capacity to grow into one of the largest maple farms in the world! They currently tap 40,000 trees, but have the ability to tap 400,000!
However, it was very recently that Crown Maple emerged as a leading competitor in the maple farming world. In 2011, Crown Maple mastered their purification process, putting their maple syrup on the map. At the same time, they started developing the visitor aspect of their company, bringing people from all over the world to get a taste of their one-of-a-kind maple syrup.
Crown Maple attributes their location in the Hudson Valley as the reason for their overwhelming success. First, the natural characteristics of the land provides a large amount of maple trees in a relatively small area. This makes tapping more numerous and efficient than shipping sap from other locations. Second, the Hudson Valley is already known as a “food hub”, making the demand for fresh, local, and decadent foods very high. Because of this “foodie” culture, Crown Maple is able to sell its products to many up-and-coming restaurants and chefs in the Hudson Valley. Third, their proximity to New York City opens up a huge market for Crown Maple to grow and expand their company.
Overall, we had a great experience at Crown Maple!! Compared to the other farms we have visited as a class, Madava Farms is very unique because of the advanced technology they have access to and how they utilize it to progress the science of farming in the Hudson Valley. Crown Maple is a good example of the possible future of agritourism! Sweet right!!?