County’s Sugar House tour on tap

Sullivan County Democrat, March 4, 2011 SULLIVAN COUNTY — The sap is running and the weather is beautiful! Come out Saturday, March 19, 2011, and take a sugarhouse tour here in Sullivan County! A sugarhouse, for the uninitiated, is where the sap of the maple trees is collected and boiled down to that delicious nectar of the gods, maple syrup. Five sugarhouse operators here in Sullivan County have joined Community Unity and the Upper Delaware Chapter of Slow Foods International to offer an afternoon of tours and fun, all for a good cause. A $20 entry fee (or two for $30) buys you a map showing the route to the sugar houses through a spectacularly beautiful area of Sullivan County and entry into a poker run. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Catskill Hudson Bank, the entry fee is 100 percent tax deductible. Starting at noon on March 19 participants start in Liberty and visit each of the sugar houses on the map, collecting a poker card at each location. But you don’t need to know anything about poker to participate. At the final location, the Thunder Hill Sugar Shack, there will be live music by Albi with a special appearance by Stacey Cohen of Stacey and Friends, light refreshments, and a multitude of prizes for the winning hands. The five sugar shacks, Porkupine Lodge, Muthig Farm, Justus Asthalter Maple Syrup, Catskill Mountain Sugar House and Thunder Hill Sugar Shack, range from the oldest sugar shack in the county, demonstrating the time honored traditions of maple syrup production, to the most state of the art maple syrup processing facilities. It makes for a fascinating and fun afternoon. Best yet, the five operators will be donating every penny of those $20 entry fees to Community Unity: RISE, Federation for the Homeless, the Recovery Center and the Dream Tank. These organizations are small, in-thetrenches, dynamic and, except for the Recovery Center, volunteer driven. Last year the Federation for the Homeless served 38,000 hot meals and another 44,000 take home meals at the soup kitchen in Monticello. In these difficult economic times our organizations have thrown themselves into the breach created by government cut backs. Individually, these organizations provide meals, housing, intervention, prevention, education, treatment, counseling, support and advocacy to the most vulnerable of our neighbors. We are local people helping local people and every penny we raise stays here in Sullivan County. So please come out and help us help our neighbors and have a great afternoon, too. For tickets call Claire Sullivan at 557-3642.