“I’ve been working at the Maple Syrup Festival for 36 of its 39 years. When my wife was living, she and I worked it together. She started in 1979, I started in 1980, down at the flour mill. They’d ground the flour and we’d bag it, tape it and sell it.
I was a machine shop foreman for 15 years. I had 33 and a half years at P&W. I retired about 5 years ago because I always say ‘the hills got steeper and my knees got weaker.’ I retired, but I still do the tours. This is my station [the Sugar Shack].
See this? It’s a refractometer. You put a drop of cold sap on there, hold it up to the light and you can get a reading. There’s a scale in there and it’ll tell you the content of the sugar in the sap. This is what they call bud sap. It stinks! Smell it.
After a certain period of time, Mother Nature says: I’ve given you enough for the festival, I need the rest for my trees.”
[Paul Farkas takes me through the Sugar Shack at the Maple Syrup Festival, held every year since 1977 at Brady’s Run Lodge. Proceeds benefit parks, recreation and conservation in Beaver County.]