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Maple Weekend celebrations go on, despite slower start to season

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Sidsel Overgaard/WRVO
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This weekend is the state’s annual celebration of maple syrup. Maple Weekend is a rite of spring and ushers in the first crop of the year.

New York is the country’s second biggest producer of maple syrup, behind Vermont. Producers will put out more than two million taps this spring.

Acting New York State Agricultural Commissioner Richard Ball says producers are nervous about the late winter.

"We’re off to a slower start than normal," said Ball. "Normally in our neighborhood, we’ve been tapping for a little while here, but people are still optimistic. I know some people are fearful that it’ll be a short season and come to an abrupt halt. So far, our neighbors are cautious."

Ball encourages New Yorkers to get out and celebrate the state's maple tradition, and what has become a big economic driver for the region.

Maple Weekend events are going around the region this weekend, including plenty of places to taste fresh maple syrup. For information on what's going in your neighborhood visit the Maple Weekend website.

David Sommerstein, a contributor from North Country Public Radio (NCPR), has covered the St. Lawrence Valley, Thousand Islands, Watertown, Fort Drum and Tug Hill regions since 2000. Sommerstein has reported extensively on agriculture in New York State, Fort Drum’s engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the lives of undocumented Latino immigrants on area dairy farms. He’s won numerous national and regional awards for his reporting from the Associated Press, the Public Radio News Directors Association, and the Radio-Television News Directors Association. He's regularly featured on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Only a Game, and PRI’s The World.