A gem of Allegany County has made the announcement that breakfast fans from all over Upstate New York love to hear: The maple syrup season has begun and the Maple Tree Inn is set to open its doors this week! Tomorrow, February 8 will begin the 60th season of business for the Cartwright family. The famous maple syrupers recently announced:
“This February we will be celebrating our 60th season! Each week we will be sharing a piece of our history with you and invite everyone to share your memories along with us. Today we will start with“60 seasons of business!” Ronald Cartwright, our patriarch and founder, had a vision of opening a restaurant where people could taste our syrup. Prior to this, our family had been selling syrup in the small towns near our farm, basically out of the back of his wagon. People thought he was crazy to think that anyone would come to the middle of nowhere…in the dead of winter… just for some pancakes. He was undeterred and along with wife Virginia, for 60 seasons they have proved them wrong!”
Ronald’s legacy as a maple man and a business man have created a cult like following. Western New Yorkers dream of the signature breakfasts and often travel hundreds of miles to feast at this authentic sugar shack. The menu is simple, all you can eat pancakes are the big deal but the Inn serves eggs, sausage, ham, burgers, and dessert. Children 2 and under eat free. Click on the buckwheat pancakes to see the full menu!
“In celebration of our 60th season60 years of Syrup! In 1963 we had our wood fired evaporator to make syrup. In those days Ronald and his sons used taps and buckets to collect sap and drove the buckets back to sugar house by tractor. It was a long and laborious process to get the sap to the evaporator. When the sap ran, you had to boil it quickly before it would sour. Sometimes we would have to boil for 36 hours straight if the weather was right and the sap was plentiful! The wood evaporator had to be constantly monitored so you didn’t burn the pans. On those long days we would often have volunteers or employees who would sit with Ronald to keep him awake, as he still had to go to the barn to milk cows and had been awake for 3 days! Today, our evaporator is fuel fed and boils much faster due to the constant heat and controlled temp, making it more efficient. We also are aided by the reverse osmosis which removes much of the water before it reaches the evaporator. In the woods we now use tubing lines, which are gravity fed to dumping station and have a vacuum on them. Sap is picked up by truck to transfer into holding tanks. Every year since 1963 we walk the woods to install 10,000 taps, hang lines, and check for damage from weather and animals. That part hasn’t changed with time!”