Maple Buckets Popping Up in Andover
Tis the season for the sap to run here in Andover, NY. That annoying habit of the weather to swing wildly from cold to warm and back again this time of year makes the local maple trees weep sap of joy. Although it would be great if the weather could trend more to the warm for the human residents of Andover.
Local Resident Steve Walker stated "Once the trees are tapped I know it's almost time for sandal season." But we all know it never really stopped being sandal season for Steve.
In years past all of the maple trees lining the village streets were tapped and processed to produce syrup at the Sugar Shack on the grounds of the Catholic Church on Elm Street. The Andover Lion's club, formed in 1971, undertook the tapping of the village trees for many years and later began the Maple Festival to celebrate the local Maple Bounty.*
The maple trees you see today were mostly planted by Andover resident and former head of village public works, Fay Boyd in the 1930's.** Mr. Boyd dug up the maple saplings from The Grove. It is reported that Mr. Boyd had many superstitions about the proper planting of trees and made sure to transplant the saplings in the same orientation that they'd been dug up by placing a paint dot on the north facing side of each sapling. Apparently at the time lining the streets with maple trees was not a universally popular move, but many of the trees he planted survive today.
These trees grew to be a symbol of life in Andover. However, with the average life span of a maple tree being 80 years many of the original trees in the village have fallen or been replaced. The remaining original trees do require a bit of extra care in their golden years. The Conrad and Kathryn Church family fund and Allegany County Area Foundation administers funds for the maintenance of these old grown maples and replanting of new trees.
In some recent years there have been no buckets hanging on trees in the village. However, some folks have begun to tap the trees again. There are a few old growth maples tapped on Church Street and another at the fence line behind Harold Ford's. That is not to mention the many folks who tap trees on the surrounding hillside to produce their own syrup.
When asked for comment on maple syrup being produced in the village once again, one local young person stated "It's pretty cool you can just milk trees like that."
I know that I am not alone in looking forward to tasting this years new syrup crop. If anyone is selling any Andover produced syrup please do let us know.
*This year's Lion's Maple Festival has again been cancelled, but plans to return in April of 2023.
**This information is based on an interview conducted by an Andover School child in the 1960's and I really just took their word for it. I did also corroborate this information with my Grandma and she's always right so... That's the level of research I was in the mood for since the Andover Historical Society phone number wasn't working today.
© AndoverExclusive 2021