Sweet deal in the Finger Lakes

Mahlon Hoover heads into the woods as soon as possible when Mother Nature hints a new maple sugaring season is about to begin.

He likes to get going early with syrup production because the Hoover farm becomes a very busy place this time of year. There are the thousands of taps to tend in the maple trees whose sap must be collected, boiled and bottled for the maple sugaring operation. Then, there’s the bustle of buyers and sellers who converge on the farm. Pulteney Valley Farm on Pulteney Road in Steuben County is home to Hoover Maple Supplies, one of just a few dozen maple supply dealers in the state.

Hoover and his wife Emma, with their children in tow, showed their shop and showroom filled with maple sugaring equipment, from tubing to packaging to evaporators, and where they produce some 500 gallons of syrup a season.

Mahlon Hoover said they’ve been in maple sugaring for about six years and Black Buggy Bulk Foods in Hopewell is one of the places selling their syrup. They had help getting started from fellow producers in nearby Italy Valley, Malcolm MacKenzie and Lane Clute. Mahlon now helps others get started and sells supplies and equipment as a dealer for companies such as Canada-based Dominion & Grimm Inc.

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