While you may think the end of winter, while they’re tapping the trees, would be the best time to visit a maple syrup farm, Mike Cobb, CEO of Crown Maple might disagree.
His favorite season is the fall, when all the trees are in their colorful glory. And with over 800 acres that’s a lot of color! This weekend, they’re celebrating with a 2-day Fall Festival featuring over a dozen local artisans, food producers, wagon rides, music and more.
Madava Farms where Crown Maple is made, is not your typical sugar house. That’s apparent from the minute you turn off a precarious dirt road on to the immaculate grounds. The “sugar house” is a huge state-of-the-art facility perched on the top of a hill--more in the tradition of a winery than your local guy making maple syrup and that’s all intentional.
What’s unique about Crown Maple, is that the owners Robb and Lydia Turner, took a commodity--maple syrup and branded it as an upscale product (think Ralph Lauren with the polo shirt). Along with creating the first maple syrup “brand”, their modern manufacturing processes enables them to produce a maple syrup with much higher purity.
Open Saturdays and Sundays, you can tour the farm, do a tasting, have brunch, enjoy a beautiful setting and some great maple syrup. Unlike a winery tasting, there’s no need for a designated driver, so everyone can indulge!
The best way to do that is to head straight for the tasting room. Crown Maple will pour you a flight of syrups, which gives you a chance to taste the range of syrups. There are 4 grades of syrup: Golden Color Delicate Taste, Amber Color Rich Taste, Dark Color Robust Taste and Very Dark Color Strong Taste. Recently they’ve also added a collection of 4 flavored organic maple syrups: Bourbon Barrel Aged, Madagascar Vanilla Infused, Cinnamon Infused and Applewood Smoked.
I was surprised by the Golden Color and Delicate Taste, the lightest variety. As promised, it was delicate, but the maple flavor still came out and was subtler than my favorite, the Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. However, the new Applewood Smoked may be taking over top spot on my syrup favorites.
Once you’ve decided on a favorite, you might want to see how versatile syrup can be. Brunch from the café is a great way to do that. The menu ranges from the traditional, like pancakes, to more savory items highlighting the many uses for maple syrup. Weather permitting, you can enjoy your meal outside on the terrace (there’s a fire pit if it’s chilly) where the views are spectacular.
You can pick up bottles of your favorites at the shop across from the café. If you fall in love with any of the flavored ones (and I bet you do), right now, that’s the only place you can buy them.
For other events, check the website. There’s lots going on, either at the farm, or off-site.
And let us know in the comments or our Facebook page, what your favorite Crown Maple syrup is.
Crown Maple is open Saturdays and Sundays 10-5. The café closes at 4.
47 McCourt Road, Dover Plains, NY 12522