2013 Pennsylvania Maple Tour


Please mark September 19-21 on your calendar and join the Northeastern Pennsylvania Maple Producers Association for the 2013 Pennsylvania Maple Tour.

The tour will be headquartered at the Settlers Inn in Hawley, Pa. Settlers Inn is a bed and breakfast lodge in the Lake Region of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains.

This year's tour features many fun and informative stops. On Friday, participants will tour Shemanski Maple Syrup, which is run by Ron and Stanley Shemanski. Ron is the president of the Pennsylvania Maple Syrup Producers Council and the vice president of the Northeastern Maple Producers Association. The Shemanskis have 3,500 taps, with 3,000 of them on vacuum with Leader polycarbonate check valves. Their 600-gallon-capacity Lapierre reverse osmosis machine can be expanded to a 1,200-gallon capacity and concentrates the sap before it is boiled on two 2x6 Leader evaporators, both with Steam-Aways. A new building was constructed in the fall of 2012, with interior construction of office and kitchen space ongoing to meet the demand of their expanding markets. The Shemanskis have joined Loch's Maple as a subdealer for the following maple equipment manufacturers: CDL, Lapierre, H2O Innovations, Sugarhill Containers, Marcland Drawoffs, Kencove Fence Products and Artisan Printing of Vermont. The Shemanskis and Loch's install and service what they sell. They also have a custom tubing installer available.

The second stop on Friday is David and Barbara Hauenstein of Aldenville. David Hauenstein III remembers his grandfather collecting sap with a team of horses and boiling outdoors on two arches. For sap buckets, they used 5-gallon square metal molasses cans with the tops cut off. His grandmother cleaned the syrup using whole milk out of the milk cans in the cooler to skim off the impurities before canning in glass. In the 1960s, his family built a cinderblock arch for a 4x12 evaporator pan. They collected from 1,300 taps using a John Deere crawler. After a tornado struck in the summer of 2010, damaging their sugarbush, David began his new sugarhouse using hemlock and spruce trees they had logged and sawed from his woods with their Frick sawmill. He purchased a secondhand 2x6 Waterloo evaporator. Now he gathers with a 210-gallon poly tank in his pickup from about 220 Wheeling and Leader buckets. Some syrup is sold in two stores; the rest is sold to the same local customers who bought from his grandfather and father.

The third stop on Friday will be Creamworks Creamery. Since its inception in 2005, the creamery, located at Riverside Farm, has been working hard to provide consumers with fresh, local milk. Owners Amy and Chuck Theobald, with partner Bob Ogozaly, have been bottling and shipping milk since July 2010. Their farm-fresh milk comes directly from their herd of 200 cows, which leisurely roam their 190-acre farm. The creamery processes about 900 gallons of milk per week and around 30 pounds of butter. They sell milk, butter, flavored milks and brown eggs at the creamery. Creamworks milk is also available at local supermarkets in Wayne and Lackawanna counties.

Lunch will be at the Red School House. The menu will consist of turkey, ham or tuna club sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, soda, water, milk, tea and coffee.

The first afternoon stop on Friday will be Tom and Sharon Nebzydoski's operation. Tom began producing syrup in 2001. He has over 2,000 taps on tubing and boils on a wood-fired evaporator. He uses Zero vacuum bulk tanks instead of mechanical or electric releasers on his vacuum systems.

The second afternoon stop will be Burke's Maple, owned by Dennis and Lisa Burke. In 2001, the Burkes got advice from Lisa's grandfather and father, syrup producers from Sherman, N.Y., and began making syrup. Four years later, they increased their production and began selling their syrup to "sweet merchants." They now have over 1,000 taps, use mostly tubing, and boil on a 3x10 wood-fired Leader evaporator.

On Saturday, the first stop will be Augusta Acres Farms. Todd and Sue Klikus have 375 taps, mostly on buckets, and a 2x6 wood-fired evaporator. Their 2013 production was 61 gallons. On their 20-acre homestead, they practice sustainable organic methods. They keep top-bar bees and raise chickens, heritage pigs, turkeys and ducks. They grow most of their vegetables, berries and fruit, along with many annual and perennial flowers.

The second stop on Saturday will be Sculpted Ice Works. Participants will tour the ice harvesting museum to learn how ice was harvested in years gone by. The tour will also include the ice factory so visitors can see how ice carving is done to create beautiful ice sculptures.

The third stop on Saturday will be the Lacawac Sanctuary & Nature Preserve. This 520-acre property includes a hardwood and hemlock forest, 52-acre glacial lake, ponds, wetlands, meadows, visitor center, five hiking trails, 1 mile of scenic shoreline on Lake Wallenpaupack and native plant garden.

Lunch will be catered by the Anthill Farm Kitchen and served at the Watres Lodge overlooking Lake Lacawac.

The last stop on Saturday will be at Dave and Jane Altemier's. Dave grew up making syrup with his siblings and parents on the family farm near Sterling. The land he now lives on is steeply sloped and well-suited to tubing, with 200 taps. His daughter enjoys tapping and collecting 30 buckets.

Thursday, September 19
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.  Tour registration
6:30 p.m.  State delegate meeting

Friday, September 20
7 - 7:45 a.m.  Tour registration
7 - 8 a.m.  Breakfast buffet
7:45 a.m.  Buses load
8 a.m.  Buses leave
5 p.m.  Buses arrive back at the Settlers Inn
6 - 6:30 p.m.  Social time and trade show
6:30 p.m.  Banquet and Maple Sweetheart Program

Saturday, September 21
7 - 8 a.m.  Breakfast buffet
7:45 a.m.  Buses load
8 a.m.  Buses leave
3:15 p.m.  Buses arrive back at the Settlers Inn

For more information, call 570-689-7552.