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2018-03-13 / Front Page

Maple Syrup Season: For LaTourettes, It’s a Sweet Sign of Spring

By Rosie Cunningham


Bob and Carol LaTourette have been involved in the maple syrup business in one facet or another for most of their 55-year marriage. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Bob and Carol LaTourette have been involved in the maple syrup business in one facet or another for most of their 55-year marriage. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter SIDNEY CENTER - Bob and Carol LaTourette, owners of LaTourette’s Pure Maple Products at 490 Cummings Road in Sidney Center, have been in the syrup business in one facet or another for decades, not too many years after the couple married 55 years ago.

Bob, 77, and Carol, 75, agreed that this year, they anticipate a great season locally.

“When it warmed up for a few days last week, a lot of sap was running,” said Bob on Tuesday. “The freezing cold to warm weather is ideal for a good year.”

For the LaTourette’s, the maple syrup business is very much a family affair.

Bob, a lifelong resident of Trout Creek and a Deposit Central School graduate, has taken part in the industry since a young age - he was barely out of diapers when his interest was piqued.


Maple syrup products that the couple have on hand at their residence in Sidney Center. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Maple syrup products that the couple have on hand at their residence in Sidney Center. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter “I remember being four or five years old, attending my studies at the one-room schoolhouse and when I saw my father and the horses coming as they went to collect sap, the teachers would let me out to go with him. My father did it and his father did as well,” said Bob. “Our kids (two) were a big part of the process when they were younger and both of my sons make syrup still, as does my grandson and most likely all of our six grandkids eventually will in one way or another - mainly for their own use.”

“Bob fixed up a flat pan,” said Carol, reminiscing about their business. “We bought a big evaporator and made syrup for several years after that - the kids would come help, mostly boil.”

The couple owned and operated a Holstein farm in conjunction, also a family business for generations, up until about 10 years ago in June - milking 55 head.

“My father bought this farm - which was his second one, in the 1950s,” said Bob of their residence, also the maple syrup hub.

“Maple syrup does not go well with the dairy business without extra help,” laughed Bob.

“The men would be milking and I’d be boiling the syrup over wood,” said Carol, who is a graduate of Walton Central School.

Bob and Carol had to rent trees to tap and traveled around to different bushels.

“Some individuals thought we were hurting their trees,” so Carol. “So, finding trees to rent became harder.”

“My boys were both a big help - and when they grew up and that hurt me on the labor side,” said Bob. “We got to the point where we weren’t making enough syrup on our own. So, we started buying syrup up North to meet our needs. Eventually, as we got older, we said, ‘why don’t we just buy it.’ So, we have been doing just that ever since and the equipment has been untouched since.”

However, the couple said they miss the process of making syrup terribly.

“We had some great times and memories,” said Carol. “It was always a tough five or six weeks, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”

She added that they had “boiling parties” with the neighbors and they would host school groups interested in learning about the process.

The LaTourette’s have never been able to bring themselves to sell the old evaporator and equipment.

“Maybe we’ll pick it up again, or maybe our kids or grandkids will,” said Bob.

The LaTourette’s sweet, springtime business is more than a bit of a balancing act - it’s a livelihood for the pair, who sell year-round.

“Maple cream and syrup are the biggest sellers,” said Carol. “We also make maple sugar and I have dabbled with granulated sugar. Quarts are the biggest seller in regards to the syrup and half gallons, too.”

They estimated they sell about 400-450 gallons of syrup each year and the holiday season is the busiest.

They also personally enjoy the sweet treat.

“Carol makes a great maple chicken,” said Bob. “We use it instead of sugar many times. In fact, most any white sugar can be replaced with maple syrup.”

Carol’s next show is in April and she took part in one in the fall in Guilford. After that, she travels regularly to area markets - Deposit, and several shows in Walton, many times with a grandchild in tow to lend help.

“In addition to shows, we box the products from here to be shipped out,” said Carol. “Not a lot of people know we ship. We also keep quite a big supply here.”

Fore more information, or to order LaTourette’s Pure Maple Products, call 607-865-6147.

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