NEW MILFORD — The youth agency’s maple syrup produced at Sullivan Farm is now available at the Big Y supermarket on Kent Road.

The New Milford Youth Agency produced so much syrup last spring there was a surplus that Big Y has welcomed for its local product sales. Youth Agency Executive Director Mark Mankin said last year positioned them well to expand the wholesale market.

“I went to the Sunny Valley fair with our volunteer group and found this syrup,” said Bruce Butler, store director at New Milford’s Big Y. “It was delicious and the great thing is that carrying it hones in on our support of the local community here at Big Y.”

When Mankin and agency volunteer Kellen Ness brought the first batch of Great Brook Sugar House maple syrup last week, Butler took a box of pancake mix off the shelf and invited store employees into the break room to try it.

“I want my staff to know the products we carry,” Butler said. “They can’t tell our customers how good it is if they haven’t tried it. We’ve put the display here in the produce section for visibility.”

Ness, a New Milford High School senior, has been volunteering for five years at the Sullivan Farm sugar house. He is excited about the product and seeing it carried at Big Y.

“I enjoy every moment of producing the syrup,” Ness said. “Every day you go in and learn something new. We use buckets to collect the sap and do much of the processing in a way that shows you how it was done in the past. It’s great making such a good product and exciting having it on sale in such a large supermarket.”

Mankin said he considering tapping trees now instead of waiting until Feb. 14, which is the usual time of the year to begin.

“We’re in the most unusual year,” Mankin said. “The sap is running at 2 percent sugar count already. Now we have to figure out if we will get a big freeze or if the weather will continue as it is and we can tap.”

This is the third year the Youth Agency has had product at Big Y. Ridge Road potatoes were carried by the market over the last two years.

“Big Y is very supportive of buying local product,” Mankin said. “They make you feel like you’re part of the family. The interview process for the product was extensive. I went to Springfield and they wanted to see the packaging, the label, and taste the syrup. They wanted to hear how it was produced.”

“We make sure the farmer is part of the process from start to finish, so it still feels like their product,” Butler said. “For me, one of the best parts is the accessibility. If I sell it all today, I call Mark and have more product back in a day.”

stuz@newstimes.com; 203-731-3352