Maple Syrup Archives

Genesee Valley Produce Auction – Open for 2016

Posted on May 24, 2016 by Leave a comment

Since we wrote our last blog about the Genesee Valley Produce Auction, we have been asked, where it is, how to contact the auction, and how to get there? We called and verified that our information for 2016 is up to date. We hope our directions and updates help you have a great day at the auction!!

Genesee Valley Produce Auction
8855 County Road 3
Centerville, NY 14029

1/4 mile east of “downtown” Centerville on the road towards Hume/Fillmore, NY.
Centerville is a small town in northwest Allegany County, NY, at a crossroads. The most notable business in downtown Centerville is Uncle Tom’s Kabin which is a small grocery store. Go 1/4 mile towards Hume/Fillmore and The Genesee Valley Produce Auction will be on the south side of the road. If you are coming from Hume/Fillmore, it will be on the south side of the road just before you enter the village. You can’t miss it!!

Auction Days: Usually lasts an hour or two depending on how much is up for sale.
Tuesday – 10:00 AM till over
Friday – 10:00 Am till over

For questions call: This is an Amish Auction and contact by phone is only available at specific times.
585-567-8640 from 9:00 till about noon on auction days
585-567-4312 other days between 8:00 – 8:30 AM

Genesee Valley Produce Auction, LLC

Genesee Valley Produce Auction, LLC

Update 5/24/16: The auction has resumed for 2016 and will continue until the end of October. The first annual Quilt, Furniture & Craft Auction will be held June 25th, 2016.

Centerville Amish Community

Centerville Amish Community

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Rosa Park’s Featherlite Pancakes

Posted on March 3, 2016 by Leave a comment

Recently we saw an article about Rosa Park’s Featherlike Pancake recipe. We also looked online and there were quite a few additional articles about this recipe and Rosa Parks. Rosa Park’s was a key African American civil rights activist, famous for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus back in December 1955. This action on her part resulted in protests which helped to eliminate segregation laws and helped pave the way towards achieving racial equality. After her death, when going through her papers, this recipe was found written on an envelope among the papers.

Pancakes with peanut butter in them

Pancakes with peanut butter in them

One of the ingredients in this recipe is peanut butter. We make pancakes an a fairly regular basis, and we are big fans of heart healthy peanuts. Eating peanuts, has been shown to reduce heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. We don’t want to miss our on an opportunity to promote peanuts which are grown in the southern states from Virginia to New Mexico, but primarily in GA, FL, AL, TX, SC, and NC.

Mix'em, Cook'um, & Serve'm

Mix’em, Cook’um, & Serve’m

We really liked this recipe. The pancakes are very fluffy and lite. The peanut taste is there but not overwhelming. We ate ours with, real maple syrup, jam/jelly, and bottled store bought pancake syrup. It all tasted great!! We ate quite a few of the pancakes without anything on them at all. They were almost habit forming; being eaten by the stove and never making it to the table.

Rosa Park's original pancake recipe

Rosa Park’s original pancake recipe

Rosa Park’s Featherlike Pancakes

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients
1 Cup of Flour (we used an all purpose flour)
2 Tablespoons of Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons of sugar
Wet ingredients
1 Egg
1 1/4 Cup of milk (we used 1%, but any cow’s milk will do)
1/3 Cup of peanut butter (we used Jiff®)
1 Tablespoon of melted shorting or oil (we use corn oil for pancakes)

Putting it all together:
1) Preheat your griddle or frying pan over medium heat. We use a little corn oil to grease the pan.
1) Combine all the dry ingredients together in a medium to large bowl by mixing with a spoon.
2) Mix all the wet ingredients together in another bowl until uniformly blended. It took a little extra mixing to get the peanut butter blended.
3) Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until pretty uniform. A few lumps are ok! Avoid over mixing!
4) Pour or spoon your batter onto the hot pan.
5) Flip when the edges start to cook and “bubbles” start to form across the pancake.
6) Flip one or two times.

Cooking Notes:
1) Check for being done by making a tiny cut in middle of the pancake with your spatula. If there is no liquid batter, it is done! We make our cut on the underside of the pancake.
2) This recipe yielded about 10 four inch pancakes which was easily enough for 3 average servings. If you’re feeding teenage boys, that is whole different story!!

Related stories:
When I was growing up in western NY state, one of my friends was part of a big family with at least six children, four of which were boys. I stayed overnight at their house one night and ate breakfast in the morning. Their mother made pancakes. Each child, including me, got one big pancake. Each pancake was made big enough to cover the entire top of a full size dinner plate. The pancakes were great!! It was her way of feeding a small crowd, all at once, making it uncomplicated and still really good!!

Years ago, I worked with a young man who had been an assistant manager at a peanut processing plant in North Carolina. One of the products they made at the plant was Jiff® Peanut Butter. He remarked that the specifications for Jiff were for the very highest quality peanuts. We have eaten Jiff ever since.

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New York Maple Syrup

Posted on February 11, 2016 by Leave a comment

New York State Maple Syrup!

New York State Maple Syrup!

Every year late February and March is maple syrup season in western NY state. A couple years ago I visited my friends, the Pixleys, who have been making maple syrup for more than 60 years. The process starts in mid February or early March tapping the maple trees and maintaining their tubing system for the upcoming maple syrup season.

The trees are tapped in late February and Early March depending on the weather

The trees are tapped in late February and Early March depending on the weather

The number of taps in a single tree is determined by the size and health of the maple tree. A very large tree may have 3 taps in the same tree. Smaller trees may only have one tap and other immature trees in the forest will have none. The sap runs best when the daytime temperature gets into the upper 40′s or low 50′s and the night time temperatures dive into the mid 20′s. At the beginning and middle of he maple syrup season the sap will run clear. At the end of the season it will start to turn more yellow signaling the end.

The sap flowing out of the tap joins a network of tubing flowing downhill

The sap flowing out of the tap joins a network of tubing flowing downhill

The trees are tapped and connected to a network of tubing that collects maple sap from groups of trees. As the sap from more groups of trees are joined into the main flow, the size of the tubing is increased.

The tubes carry the sap towards the collection tank

The tubes carry the sap towards the collection tank

The tubing system is used when the maple trees grow on a hillside and the flow of sap can be directed downhill towards a collection point. At the collection point it flow into a stainless collection tank. Another system is to put metal taps into the trees and hang buckets which collect the sap.

The clear sap enters the collection tank

The clear sap enters the collection tank

The maple tree forest and the building where the syrup is made is called a Sugarbush. A large sugarbush will have more than one collection point for the sap. A tractor and portable stainless steel tank is used to transport the sap from the collection points back to the Sugarbush building where the fresh sap is made into maple syrup.

A tank of sap from a collection point is brought to the Sugarbush for unloading

A tank of sap from a collection point is brought to the Sugarbush for unloading

This Sugarbush building contains two large wood fired evaporators, tank storage for the sap waiting to be boiled, a large woodshed to store firewood, and a kitchen. The roof of the building has two large smokestacks for the wood smoke to exit and one large vent opening for the steam to exit the building.

The Sugarbush!

The Sugarbush!

The sap is gravity fed into the far end of the evaporator. The evaporator is basically a large flat pan with compartments. As the water is boiled away from the sap the resulting liquid is higher in sugar content as it gradually flows from the far end of the evaporator to the near end of the evaporator. The sap with the highest concentration of sugar eventually flows to a mall area where the finished syrup is drawn off. It is necessary to have a very hot wood fire under this evaporator to make the sap boil over the entire length of the evaporator.

It takes a really hot fire!!

It takes a really hot fire!!

The hot fire combined with the boiling sap make the building very hot and humid. It takes a special type of person to be successful at this enterprise. When the sap is running freely from the trees it becomes almost a 24 hour a day job to collect the sap and boil it into syrup. The outside conditions are often cold, wet, snowy, icy, windy and muddy. The inside conditions are extremely warm.

The evaporation creates a lot of steam

The evaporation creates a lot of steam

When enough water has been evaporated from the sap it is determined to be syrup with the use of a hydrometer. This instrument measures the specific gravity of the syrup. The specific gravity is related to the sugar concentration. Too thick or too thin is not acceptable. A person with a lot of training and experience is required to do this. Making maple syrup is part art and part science.

The syrup is monitored with a hydometer to determine when it is ready for bottling

The syrup is monitored with a hydometer to determine when it is ready for bottling

Once the syrup is ready, it is drawn off in small batches, filtered and then poured into stainless steel drums. When the season is over the local producers will gather to sell the syrup to wholesale buyers. Most producers also keep and sell smaller quantities to friends, neighbors and other interested parties. The syrup is also sold locally in gas stations, restaurants, roadside stands, and at producers homes. Some producers have their own website for retail sales.

The boiling syrup is filtered in small batches before it is put in stainless steel drums

The boiling syrup is filtered in small batches before it is put in stainless steel drums

A sample is taken regularly and taste tested to maintain quality control. Changes in the weather and changes as the season goes from start to finish can influence the flavor and color of the syrup. Maple syrup has different grades depending on color and flavor. Each drum of maple syrup is graded so that it can be sold meeting specific criteria. Different grades are preferred depending on how the maple syrup will be used. Higher grades are often eaten fresh from a bottle or jug and lower grades may be blended with other sweeteners or products.

Quality Control - The taste test bottle!!

Quality Control – The taste test bottle!!

There is a special feeling of hard work and accomplishment after a day of making maple syrup. When working late into the evening on a cold snowy night, one pauses to walk outside to cool down from the immense heat of the building. To look up at the glow of the smokestacks and evaporator and see the big snow flakes coming down is almost magical. Other nights you may be looking up into a night sky full of stars far away from the city lights.

Making maple syrup on a cold snowy March night!

Making maple syrup on a cold snowy March night!

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Genesee Valley Produce Auction

Posted on October 11, 2015 by Leave a comment

Genesee Valley Produce Auction
8855 County Road 3
Centerville, NY 14029

1/4 mile east of “downtown” Centerville on the road towards Hume/Fillmore, NY.
Centerville is a small town in northwest Allegany County, NY, at a crossroads. The most notable business in downtown Centerville is Uncle Tom’s Kabin which is a small grocery store. Go 1/4 mile towards Hume/Fillmore and The Genesee Valley Produce Auction will be on the south side of the road. If you are coming from Hume/Fillmore, it will be on the south side of the road just before you enter the village. You can’t miss it!!

Auction Days: Usually lasts an hour or two depending on how much is up for sale.
Tuesday – 10:00 AM till over
Friday – 10:00 Am till over

For questions call: This is an Amish Auction and contact by phone is only available at specific times.
585-567-8640 from 9:00 till about noon on auction days
585-567-4312 other days between 8:00 – 8:30 AM

Genesee Valley Produce Auction, LLC

Genesee Valley Produce Auction, LLC

Update 5/24/16: The auction has resumed for 2016 and will continue until the end of October. The first annual Quilt, Furniture & Craft Auction will be held June 25th, 2016.

The Genesee Valley Produce Auction, LLC in Centerville, NY is in the process of finishing it’s second year as a seasonal local produce auction. It appears to be a growing, successful enterprise. This wholesale produce action is owned and operated for the benefit of the local Amish community, which is part of the community of Centerville, NY. Centerville is a small rural town in Allegany County in western NY State.

Fall Pumpkins and Flowers!

Fall Pumpkins and Flowers!

In an effort to boost the local economy, the auction has been established to furnish an outlet for locally grown produce. This includes Amish and non-amish producers. The auction provides high quality produce to potential buyers which includes small to medium size local roadside produce stands. As the auction becomes more successful and attracts a larger number of bidders, the demand for local produce grown in and around Centerville has increased.

Here is how it works: A buyer or Seller is required to get a number to identify your purchase or sale. This is done in the office. Next, Preview the goods to see what you are interested in bidding upon. Take note of the package size being offered because that will be the minimum purchase you can buy, once you have made a bid. You must listen to the auctioneer, as he will sometimes have instructions regarding the quantity to be purchased with your bid. Usually you can purchase anywhere from one package to the entire lot, at the price you bid. It helps to watch the bidding process for a while before you start bidding. Once you feel comfortable, make your bid. Once you have completed all your bidding, you take your number to the office to pay for your purchase. Then, load up and head for home.

Additionally there is a “Retail” table that has pre-priced small package sizes of fruits, vegetables and baked goods. If you do not need a large quantity of a specific item, you may find it on the retail table. There will be a person near the retail table to take the package number and then you can pay for the item in the office.

Auction Bidding in Progress!

Auction Bidding in Progress!

These photos were taken in late September when the Fall produce is available. Produce that is only available for a short period of time during the year, like concord grapes, pumpkins, and apples need to be purchased during their season. Earlier in the year during the Spring and Summer other produce like hanging flower baskets, or sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers are available.

Concord Grapes!

Concord Grapes!

One of the benefits of a local produce market is the potential to purchase unique items such as these walnut log flower baskets with grape vine handles. Although you many not want to buy a whole pallet of hanging baskets, it may be an opportunity to work with your neighbors to save a few dollars by buying in bulk in a wholesale setting. If you are into canning or freezing for your family, it is an economical way to purchase fresh produce in quantities not offered in the grocery store. It is a great adventure to gather a few friends to go visit the auction, find a great deal, and share the bargain you found.

Specialty Flower Baskets!

Specialty Flower Baskets!

Over the past 20 years or so, an Amish community has developed in and around Centerville. It is now very normal to encounter a buggy or two on the road when you travel locally. The Amish have purchased a significant portion of the local real estate where there were once small dairy farms that went out of business in the 1970s and 1980s. The community is complete with homesteads, carpenters, storekeepers, builders, sawmills, a poultry farm, and local produce and greenhouse growers.

Centerville Amish Community

Centerville Amish Community

Centerville is a small town located in the northwestern corner of Allegany Counsty, NY. It is about an hour and fifteen minutes from Buffalo, NY and about an hour and a half from Rochester, NY. It is a rural town with a population of 822. The main occupation is dairy and beef cattle farming. There are also several maple syrup producers. Centerville is located at a high elevation in western NY with hills reaching 2000 feet. This high elevation is associated with ample snowfall in the winter and cooler temperatures in the summer; often 5-10 degrees cooler than Buffalo or Rochester. The beautiful rolling hills make a scenic ride at any time of year.

The Beautiful Rolling Hills of Centerville, NY!

The Beautiful Rolling Hills of Centerville, NY!

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