Did you know that Garrett County used to be a major production center for the maple syrup industry? While it may not be the largest producer of the syrup anymore, you can still find this traditional spring activity in the county. Maple syrup season varies every year, depending upon the weather. Today does not offer ideal conditions for tapping the trees, as the best days reach forty-five to fifty degrees with a temperature around twenty-eight degrees at night. Nevertheless, the sap was running in February, thanks to some warmer conditions, and will be again soon.
Steyer Brothers Farm on Rt. 560 is a working maple syrup farm. The Steyer family has been making the syrup for over 100 years. They offer tours to the public during the season and sell the product on site year round. If you are interested in a tour, your best bet is to call the farm at (301) 334-2900 to schedule a visit, as the weather determines whether or not they can collect the sap.
Also, the Steyer family partners with the State Parks to provide activities for the public. Maple syrup demonstrations are scheduled at Swallow Falls State Park from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday March 8th. They will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate the use of an evaporator in the syrup making process. Pure maple products will be offered for sale during this time. For more information call 301-334-9180. On Sunday March 9th, pancakes, buckwheat cakes, pure maple syrup, sausage, orange juice and coffee will be served at Herrington Manor Park.
In nearby Allegany County, the Savage River Lodge makes syrup on the premises as well. Mike Dreisbach tells me that guests come to help collect sap, with the added bonus of getting to take some of the syrup home. Also, the Lodge sells their finished product and uses it in the restaurant. For more information, visit www.savageriverlodge.com.