'Just a celebration': Somerset County kicks off maple season

Patrick Buchnowski, The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.
·1 min read

Feb. 28—CONFLUENCE — Maple season is flowing.

The annual Tree Tapping Day was held on Saturday at Sechler Sugar Shack, 7758 Kingwood Road, in Confluence in Somerset County.

Visitors were invited to watch a tree-tapping and were greeted by contestants competing for the title of Pennsylvania Maple Queen.

The event was sponsored by the Somerset County Maple Producers Association.

"It's just a celebration of the official beginning of Maple season here in Somerset County," said Everett Sechler, association president.

"We've been doing this for probably close to 50 years," he said.

Sechler said his family has been producing maple syrup since 1850, now into its eight generation.

Matthew Emerick, whose family owns and operates Emerick's Maple LLC, was master of ceremonies.

The family operation produces 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of syrup annually using 8,200 taps, he said.

Sap from sugar maple trees is collected and then boiled down, leaving the concentrated syrup.

Emerick said his operation started boiling on Feb. 6. The best time to get optimal sap flow is when night-time temperatures are 25 to 28 degrees and day-time temperature are in the upper 30s to low 40s, he said.

"We really got going after the snow started to melt," Emerick said.

The event included free maple candies and baked goods.

"It's a good time to get people together and enjoy Mother Nature's sweetener," Sechler said,

Maple season lasts four to six weeks, Emerick said.