West Virginia sugar shacks celebrate Mountain State Maple Days

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) — West Virginia’s sugar shacks are celebrating the fifth annual Mountain State Maple Days.

Taking place on Saturday, February 19 and throughout March, Maple Days bring attention to one of the state’s sweetest industries, maple syrup.

The days just come at the peak of maple syrup production, as the colder weather is an essential part of the process.

“Most people in our area start farming around February 1,” says Gray Farms owner Micheal Gray.

“It’s all weather related, so it’s usually about 6 weeks until about mid-March, when the weather starts to get too warm, that’s the end of the season,” he says.

Gray Farms in Clarksburg, WV is just one of several sugar shacks in the state that opens its doors to the public on Saturday to show off the maple syrup making process.

Gray has been collecting sap from maple trees and boiling it in the evaporator to make syrup for almost nine years now. He says it’s an industry that seems to grow around the state.

“It’s amazing when you go out and talk to people about how many people are actually doing it, maybe on a small scale, some people are on a large scale, but there are a lot of people doing it.”

According to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, as the state experienced a loss in maple syrup production between 2020 and 2021, the total number of syrup taps increased by 2,000, representing a current total of 77,000 taps in the state.

The next maple day will take place on Saturday, March 19.

To learn more about maple syrup production in the mountain state, you can visit Gray Farms on their Facebook page or visit West Virginia Maple Syrup Association.

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Rachel J. Bradford